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Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide Hardcover – May 16, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
The occasional tippler may be intimidated by all the nuances of fine whiskey; after all, there are just so many variables to consider. What is the local climate and geography of the distillery? What the kind of grain is used, and how is it prepared for fermenting? What is the shape of the still? What kind of oak is used for the cask, and how long is the whiskey aged? Jackson's collection of essays and photographs will teach newbies how to answer all of these questions, but it will gratify the most obsessive enthusiasts as well. Every step of the process gets its own explanation, and there are even essays on food pairings and cocktail recipes. The bulk of the book, however, is taken up by an almost encyclopedic compendium of distilleries from all over the planet, including Germany and Japan. Individually, each section is informative; but taken together, the sheer amount of information may make novices feel overwhelmed. This is not to suggest that Jackson's "definitive world guide" is to be avoided. Rather, like the drink it celebrates, it's best in small doses. So here's what you do: buy a bottle of your favorite scotch, rye or bourbon, and another bottle of one that intrigues you. Read about each distillery, then check out Jackson's brief and informative section "How to Nose and Taste." Then pour two fingers in a highball glass, put on some relaxing music, and enjoy the spirit of the spirit.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Jackson's collection of essays and photographs will teach newbies… but it will gratify the most obsessive enthusiasts as well." — Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
If you are looking for a book that also describes the best whiskeys of each distillery, then you have to look somewhere else. Jackson describes some whiskeys, but never gives a rating. If you want to know what to buy, you're better of with Jim Murray's Whisky Bible.