Suggestions for some non-sleazy whisky books

LOTS of controversy this week surrounding a certain whisky publication and its author’s use of language. Rather than write a piece criticising said author or debating whether his use of language is sexist, sleazy or just plain sad (or all of the above) I thought I would instead focus on books which I think do contribute to the modern drinkers’ appreciation and enjoyment of whisky.

So, here are my picks of just a few of the whisky books I have enjoyed reading;

If you like whisky facts and figures: The Malt Whisky Yearbook by Ingvar Ronde

This annually released gem of a book is a compendium of all things malt whisky. With a user friendly layout it’s packed full of up-to-date distillery facts, new releases and whisky news. How Ingvar keeps up with all the new distilleries springing up all over the place is a mystery to me but he certainly seems to. This is my go to book if I want to check a distillery fact or find out about a new distillery or indie bottler. Looking forward to seeing Watt Whisky in there one day!

A more romantic view of the whisky world: The World Atlas of Whisky by Dave Broom

I really like Dave’s writing style. In this book he provides a modern take on the idea of whisky regions. With distillery information and tasting notes all grouped by regions and sub-regions, accompanied by some beautiful photography, this is a great introduction to where whisky comes from.

For beautiful images: Bottled History by Ian Macilwain

Not much writing in this one - it’s all about the photography! I was at Springbank when Ian was taking the photos for this book and I just love how he manages to capture the atmosphere and sense of history of the distilleries he features. The subject matter maybe isn’t the most romantic (so avoid it if you’re looking for rugged Scottish landscapes) but the composition and natural lighting really makes a feature out of the ordinary or the dusty forgotten spaces.

For the ghosts of distilleries past: Scotch Missed by Brian Townsend

I’ll admit, I mainly like this book cause of its extensive section on Campbeltown, however it does cover distilleries from all over Scotland. Offering a fascinating insight into Campbeltown (and Scotland’s) lost distilleries and what became of them, this is one for the history buffs. We’ve got two different editions in the house but (fortunately) I prefer the most recent one, the 4th edition, as it is visually more appealing (I’m a sucker for aesthetics).

And finally, if you are looking for purely tasting notes, I would suggest the internet! There are loads of tasting note and scoring resources available from the likes of Whisky Fun, Malt Review and Whisky Notes. However, please do remember that tasting notes are one person’s opinion so just cause someone gives a whisky a high score doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like it! If you find a reviewer whose taste aligns with your own they can be a useful resource though.

There are a wealth of great whisky books out there so my apologies to all those that I haven’t mentioned. Mark and I are going to try to make book reviews a fairly regular feature on this blog (since our house and office are rammed with books) so hopefully these will help inspire some reading choices for the more modern whisky drinker!

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