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Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch Hardcover – March 15, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: DK ADULT; 6 Revised edition (March 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756658985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756658984
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...informative, wide ranging, illustrated and entertaining- it deserves a toast." --Newsday

About the Author

Michael Jackson was widely recognized as the world's leading authority on whiskey. He is the author of DK's James Beard award-winning Whiskey, and his books have sold over three million copies worldwide.

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Customer Reviews

Easy read and very informative.
daniel hahn
This book lets you know everything you could ever want to know about just about any scoth you could ever drink.
Sasha M
Great reference on Single Malt Scotch.
Christopher Carlsson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 84 people found the following review helpful By R. Barry Lyndon on March 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
(This is a review of the latest 6th Edition, published in 2010)

Michael Jackson died in 2007 and his book had not been updated since 2004. The malt whisky industry has changed greatly since then. The goal of these three editors was to update Michael's classic book while trying to do it as he would have himself.

The layout of the book is in alphabetical order by distillery. There is a short half-page introduction to each distillery, a sentence on the distillery's house style, followed by very short reviews and ratings of several whiskies from the distillery. Many reviews also include a picture of the bottle label. The beginning of the book starts with a general introduction to whisky, left mostly untouched from how Michael wrote it.

The editors say that their goal was to keep as many of Michael's original reviews as possible, while updating them with reviews of new whiskies and removing outdated whiskies. The introduction says that two-thirds of the reviews are new, but I also found many of Michael's iconic tasting notes still in the book. The authors have intentionally changed very little in The Macallan section due to Michael's special affection for The Macallan, although they have added reviews of the Fine Oak series.

When it came to reviewing the whiskies, the editors say that they tried to stay true to Michael's style. This means that the reviews are terse, ratings are rarely above 85, and also that the editors tried to put aside their own opinions of the whiskies and tried to rate them as Michael would have (based on their reading of his past reviews). They spent 18 months updating the book, each working on reviewing separate distilleries without consulting each other on the reviews.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch" is a truly great reference for the connoisseur and novice alike. This 5th edition includes descriptions and scores for over 1,000 single malt Scotches, about 250 more than the previous edition. It is a handsome volume, well-organized and printed on slick high-quality paper. The book has an attractive, durable cover instead of a dust jacket.

The "Complete Guide"'s first 80 pages are dedicated to educating the reader about whiskies in general and single malt Scotches in particular. Ten chapters discuss a useful variety of topics: trends, origins, definitions of terms used in labeling, the influence of the terrain on flavor, the characteristics of various regions, the significance of age, the woods used in casks, and a list of the companies that own Scotch distilleries, with some explanation of their history. The chapter on Flavours is particularly interesting. Michael Jackson is a good writer. His explanations are clear without being dull, and they will leave few questions in the minds of readers who are new to Scotch whisky.

The core of the Guide is the "A-Z of Single Malts". Michael Jackson explains his scoring system and the components of his tasting notes: colour, nose, body, palate, and finish. Then he launches into descriptions of more than 1,000 Scotches produced by, I believe, over 90 distilleries. A few paragraphs explain a little bit about each distillery's history and unique characteristics. The Producer (owner), Region, District, and Address are listed for each distillery, as well as telephone, e-mail and web site where it is available. I found that the palate and finish descriptions took some getting used to before I was able to reconcile Jackson's description to how the malt really tastes.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Echoing the other reviews posted here, I'd just like to add that this book is one of the best of its kind. Unlike a lot of books about scotch whisky which tell you loads about the distilliries yet nothing about the relative worth of the drams, this book calls 'em--the good, the mediocore, and the not so good. Mr. Jackson is an outstanding writer, by turns witty and intelligent, and his passion for scotch is evident and infectious. The beautiful layout work complements the writing.
If you have even a passing interest in single malts, you need this book. Buy it now. And don't let your friends swipe your copy, even though they'll want to.
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Format: Hardcover
Okay, I'll admit, I've read a number of novels where the hero enjoys sipping on a single malt scotch and I'm not entirely sure the differences, so I couldn't tell you if he was sipping on a good one or not. I also have friends who talk about various scotches and I can't contribute much to the conversations. Sure, I've enjoyed scotch now and then, and will again, but I really can't say I know that much.

However, that is where "Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch: A Connoisseur's Guide to the Single Malt Whiskies of Scotland" comes in. This fully revised sixth edition, updated by Dominic Roskrow, Gavin D. Smith, and William C. Meyers, and published by DK, covers just about anything you would want to know about malts. It's not a book to read cover to cover, unless you are really into scotch and enjoy reading reviews and tasting notes on over 1,000 malt whiskies, with vintages from 1926 onward, including reviews of over 500 new bottlings. I spotted it on the library shelf and had to pick it up and give it a read.

The book begins with a few pages on the late Michael Jackson of the whisky industry, not music fame. Then it proceeds with an instant guide to the pleasures of the pursuit of malts. Just a few pages, but it will help you understand why malts are so popular, and why many heroes in books and movies refer to these beverages. Next come chapters on the origins of malt whisky, the words used on the label, flavors, regional variations, the age, the wood, and finally the owners, distillers, and bottlers. These are all very short chapters, with photographs that take up the first 71 pages of the book. You can read these pretty easily and know more about malt whisky than most people.
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