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This book provides a good overview of bourbon, the various distilleries that make it, and Kentucky's history and culture. However, after reading both Whiskey (EYEWITNESS COMPANION GUIDES) and American Still Life: The Jim Beam Story and the Making of the World's #1 Bourbon this book came up in a distant third place. Two of the major things that caused me to rate it as a 4 instead of a 5 were the consistency of information within the book, and the quality of many of the pictures. For example, when talking about "Old Rip Van Winkle" bourbon, Givens mentions that there is no distiller (p. 113); however, a simple Google search will indicate otherwise. Second, many of the photos in the book are very poor quality, almost like they were taken using a cell phone or "borrowed" from Web sites and then blown up to full book page images (pp. 31, 124, 136, 137, etc.). Shame on the editor for not resolving this! All-in-all still an enjoyable read on bourbon.
Bourbon is a favored beverage whose enduring popularity in the American bars and homes continues from generation to generation. Now bourbon expert Ron Givens has written a fascinating, descriptive, and informative book focusing exclusively on this alcoholic masterpiece in all its varied subtleties in "Bourbon At Its Best: The Lore & Allure Of America's Finest Spirits". Beginning with a succinct introduction, Given's continues with describing the process of how bourbon is made from mashing, fermentation, and distillation, to barreling, aging, and mingling. There are chapters devoted to the major distillers, legendary brands, the diversity of drinks that incorporate bourbon as an ingredient, and so much more. Enhanced with the inclusion of an Index and a Bibliography, "Bourbon At Its Best" is profusely illustrated throughout and includes such historical oddities as why all but one of the makers of 'straight bourbon' are located in a small region of Kentucky. A highly recommended addition to community library collections, "Bourbon At Its Best" should be considered a 'must read' by anyone who has ever sipped a glass of one of America's finest whiskies.
This book is exactly what I was looking for. A well written, comprehensive book on bourbon. It covers the history of bourbon, the whiskey making process, bios on the key players over the years, and many bourbon reviews. To top it off the book is filled with pictures on nearly every page, making this an excellent coffee table book (or one left out next to your chair in the study).