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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Produced Introduction to Whiskey
I would imagine that the very best to learn about whiskey is from a close friend who has for the past thirty years been fully immersed in all the arcane knowledge of whiskey drinking. Unfortunately, I think most people are like me, we get our whiskey education from the half educated clerk sitting behind the liquour store counter. Into this void comes Michael Jackson's...
Published on November 5, 2007 by Marco Antonio Abarca

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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great photos, geography passable, other info weaker
While this book is certainly an eye catcher it falls short of an exhaustive reference book. Perhaps it's a good introduction for the beginner, but I was hoping it would do for Whiskey what Clive Coates' The Wines of Bordeaux: Vintages and Tasting Notes 1952-2003 did for Bordeaux. Specific information with regard to process, grain choice, barrel selection and aging at...
Published on March 17, 2010 by sazerac


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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Produced Introduction to Whiskey, November 5, 2007
This review is from: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide (Hardcover)
I would imagine that the very best to learn about whiskey is from a close friend who has for the past thirty years been fully immersed in all the arcane knowledge of whiskey drinking. Unfortunately, I think most people are like me, we get our whiskey education from the half educated clerk sitting behind the liquour store counter. Into this void comes Michael Jackson's "Whiskey".

First and foremost, this book is published by DK. This means that it will be rich in beautiful photographs and illustrations and weaker in text. I love well produced books and that is why I give this book five stars. The carefully shot pictures of Scotish whiskey distilleries are enough to make one plan a golfing/whiskey drinking vacation. However, the downside of DK books is that the writing is usually on the "lite" side. If you are looking for a guidebook to help you pick your next bottle of Scotch, this is not your book. Michael Jackson has produced other books that better describe and rate single malt Scotches. Purchase this book for the beautiful photographs and basic introduction to Scotch. Deeper knowledge will require more study and tasting.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great photos, geography passable, other info weaker, March 17, 2010
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This review is from: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide (Hardcover)
While this book is certainly an eye catcher it falls short of an exhaustive reference book. Perhaps it's a good introduction for the beginner, but I was hoping it would do for Whiskey what Clive Coates' The Wines of Bordeaux: Vintages and Tasting Notes 1952-2003 did for Bordeaux. Specific information with regard to process, grain choice, barrel selection and aging at each distillery was spotty. In some cases there was no discussion of various products from a producer. I am sure meaningful tasting notes for whiskey can be tricky, but I didn't find these particularly useful either. From time to time i noticed an insightful tasting comment and frequently obvious dominating characteristics were noted but many of the tasting notes seemed rather generic. While preference is particularly subjective I think more critical evaluation would be helpful in terms of conveying tasting information.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and informative., January 9, 2006
This review is from: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide (Hardcover)
This book describes the whiskey making process very thoroughly and has many beautiful pictures of the process from barley fields, to coopers, to the stills. Also, the pictures of the various countries (and distilleries) in which whiskey is made are beautiful and evocative. Although this book is not intended to be a buyer's guide, I do wish that he were a bit more opinionated in his tastings (he describes the aromas and flavors, but doesn't often make a judgement about the overall quality of the whiskey) and that he included some indication of price range of the whiskies that he describes. All in all, a beautiful book that will likely delight anyone (even relative newbies like this reviewer) interested in the whiskies of the world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything you want to know about whiskey and distilling, March 25, 2009
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This review is from: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide (Hardcover)
This book is filled with information about distilleries from around the world. After a brief introduction to whiskey, Jackson and his contributing authors explain the aromas flavors found in whiskey as well as their sources from the distilling process. For example, different strains of barley can add different flavors, floral notes often come from the heather that grew in the peat that was burned to heat the stills, the different oaks used for maturation can add different characteristics to the drink, and so on. The distillation process and equipment are also briefly explained. After that, the book moves to a trek around the world, spending about 100 pages on Scotland, about 10 pages on Ireland, about 10 pages on Canada, about 30 pages on the United States, about 15 pages on Japan, and a brief look at "everything else". This section of the book covers (I think) all of the active distilleries with a brief history, geography, and info about the production line. Each distinct geographic region includes a section of tasting notes about one or some of the typical/popular whiskeys from the region. The more popular brands, like Bushmills and Jack Daniels, seem to get a bit more coverage than the others. The book ends with a short section on cocktails and food pairing. The book is full of large, beautiful photographs of the distilleries- I would say most pages are 50% photographs.

This is not an all-encompassing tome of whiskeys, nor a buying guide, nor a tasting guide; there are plenty of other books out there for that. I enjoyed the book thoroughly. I think it would be better with a section on the relevant history of the region- for example, the Highland Clearances were mentioned many times, and eventually I had to go look it up. Also, the book would be better if they dropped the snob factor in the text- the condescension is so thick you could cut it with a knife. This is still a wonderful book, and if you are interested in whiskey at all it is definitely worth your time.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhilarating journey through the ingredients, craftsmanship, and world development of whiskey, January 20, 2008
This review is from: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide (Hardcover)
In his book, WHISKEY - THE DEFINITIVE WORLD GUIDE, Michael Jackson takes you through an exhilarating journey of fascination covering the ingredients, craftsmanship, and world development of whiskey. The crystalline palates of passionate contributors add their expertise to Jackson's anthology that includes writings on climactic influences, geological and regional imprints on whiskeys, agricultural ingredients, commercial processing, the traditional art and science of distilling, and the art of nosing and tasting.

You are taken on a whirlwind tour into the development of single malt scotch and scotch blends, bourbon, and whiskeys, with styles that span global continents. Explorations of distilled beverages include selected tastings throughout Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the United States, Japan, Europe, Asia and Australasia. These worldwide destinations are brought to life with superb photographic images and extraordinary architectural graphics.

Further exploration into the enjoyment of whiskey includes whiskey cocktails and culinary creations, matching foods with whiskey, resources for further reading and a listing of major distilleries throughout the world.

For the novice or the connoisseur, WHISKEY - THE DEFINITIVE WORLD GUIDE is an adventure into the realm of spirits. It is impossible to peruse the pages without a feeling of awe, inspired by the magnificence, history, development and flavor profiles bestowed upon the amber gem.
This book is the 2006 winner of the James Beard Award in the Books on Drink category, and deservedly so.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The romance of whiskey, December 30, 2008
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This review is from: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide (Hardcover)
Thirty years ago many believed whiskey was a doomed drink. Like wines, whiskey, which originated in Scotland and Ireland--"whiskey" comes from a Celtic word--has become a world-wide phenomenon. Michael Jackson, as famous in the whiskey world as the other Jackson in pop, lays out whiskey's allure and history in "Whiskey: the Definitive World Guide," a Dorling-Kindersley book.

Whiskey is the umbrella for Scotch (comes only out of Scotland), Bourbon, and Whiskey. The British Isles, Canada, the United States, and Japan are the biggest makers and producers of Whiskey.

Jackson explains what creates the wide varieties of whiskeys: climate, geology, water, heather, sea breeze and seaweed, barley, peat, and the various phases of the brewing process.

Paging through the Scotland section of the wonderful single malts was a tourist reminiscence of my very limited tour through Scotch country and visits to several distilleries. Sampling Scotch at ten in the morning is a walk on the wild side, trust me.

When Jackson calls his book "definitive," he is spot on. A walk through the Scotland section lists and describes all single malts, as well as blended scotch, including labels, histories, color, nose, body, palate, finish.

Here's an example:
The Dalmore, 12-year-old
Color: Ruby, amber
Nose: Sweet. Black currant jam. Rum and raisin.
Body: Sweet and rich.
Palate: Smooth and long. Super-ripe, basil, menthol. Dried fruits.
Finish: Malt, balanced, oak.

I love this book and have poured through it over and over. There's a world of information for anyone interested in more than just passing knowledge of the whiskey world of scotch, bourbon, and whiskey.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He Discussed My Favorite Brands, Ergo a Good Book, September 20, 2005
This review is from: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide (Hardcover)
First off, this Michael Jackson is note THAT Michael Jackson. This Michael Jackson is a consulting editor for Whiskey Magazine, and this book is a summary of years of study of what else -- whiskey.

The first couple of chapters give a general introduction to whiskey. What it is, how is made, the stuff it's made of, just about every aspect. This section goes into pretty good detail giving the interested reader a pretty fair understanding of the whole process.

The back part of the book, and by far the biggest part is called The Whiskey Countries. Beginning with Scotland, and then on to Ireland, Canada, The United States, Japan and the rest of the world he discusses not all of the whiskey's produced, but spends more time on the higher quality brands. I went to look at my favorite brands first, and they were all there.

The problem with these 'best bourbons' is that they are sometimes very difficult to get once you go very far from home. Tomorrow a friend is coming to visit from Virginia. He has promised to bring a couple of bottles of Virginia Gentlemen Small Batch.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Reference, August 4, 2006
This review is from: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide (Hardcover)
Michael Jacksons books seem to be of two basic types;the handy reference size or the coffee table sized folio or tome.This is one of the later. A large book even by his standards, it will probably be considered the definitive work on Whisky for years to come and take it's place with Gary and Mardee Regans Work "The Book of Bourbon" as the standard reposistory of all knowledge and wisdom on the subject at least for the masses if not the cognescenti of whisky for years to come.Generously illustrated and well written it is a cornerstone addition to a whiskey book collection. That being said,while a great attempt to cover the field of whisky and full of very useful and entertaining information, it lacks the details of his and others more specialized books on the subject that some may wish to ferret out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opens Up a Whole New World for the Whisky Drinker, June 16, 2008
This review is from: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide (Hardcover)
Once you have browsed the pages of this book, a whole new world is opened up to the whisky drinker. Though by no means a connoisseur myself, I thought I was at least knowledgeable enough to tell a good one from a not so good one (is there any such thing as a bad one where whisky is concerned), or whiskey with an e as the Irish product is spelt.

Having in my time visited several of the smaller distilleries in Scotland, the most recent being Royal Lochnagar on the river Dee, near Balmoral, I though that I knew some of the less well known brands, but this book has an immense variety to choose from and certainly proves that the whisky available at your local pub or off-licence is merely the tip of the iceberg as far as whisky is concerned. Of course apart from Scotland there are several types of whiskey common to Ireland, with Bushmills being probably the most well-known brand but of course there are many others, Tullamore Dew and Black Bush are just two more of a host of brands.

The book goes into great detail regarding the different types of whisky: Single malt, single grain and blended and the plus and minus points of the multitude of different brands. Many will be surprised to know that it is not only Scotland and Ireland that hold the monopoly on whisky. America of course produce their well know Jack Daniels and Jim Beam bourbons. Canada also produces whisky, as do places as far afield as Japan and India and much closer to home Wales.

This book tells the reader virtually everything they are ever likely to want to know regarding the history of whisky, e.g. the word whiskey is taken from an ancient Gaelic term "uisce beatha" which translates as "water of life". The book also gives some detail of what gives a particular brand its distinctive taste and includes tasting notes for several key whiskies. The whisky industry is still thriving, even though many of the smaller distilleries have been brought under the umbrella of the multi-national brewing companies. For those who long to try something individual and different, it is still there, you just have to look that little bit harder.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile addition, February 15, 2006
This review is from: Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide (Hardcover)
To me, this book is a little more 'coffee-table-book-like' with great info and nice pictures of most of the worlds whiskeys & their environs. there are some guidebook-like reviews of tastings but not as much as MJ's "Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch" which should be part of your collection already! i would go for these two before i went for the 'whiskey bible' which is just tasting notes, jmho,,,,
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Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide
Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide by Michael Jackson (Hardcover - May 16, 2005)
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