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Whiskey: A Global History (Edible) Hardcover – October 15, 2010
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"Whiskey, at 144 pages, is the perfect primer for the person who wants to quickly learn the basics." (Washington Post)
“Kevin Kosar might be the most thoughtful boozehound you'll ever meet.”
"A brief, informative, and endlessly diverting history of whiskey—in its many incarnations—that is not exactly intoxicating, but deeply satisfying. . . . The great mystery of whiskey—to this consumer, at least—is the extent to which its common origins produce such disparate products, and how radically different human palates can be. One man’s smooth, nutty beverage is another’s wretched toxin, and the author has his own distinct tastes. But it would be difficult to find, in the holiday season, a superior gift to this tasty, eye-opening, gem of light scholarship.--Weekly Standard (Philip Terzian)
"There’s probably no more storied beverage than whiskey. Few have generated as many myths. Whiskey: A Global History, by Kevin Kosar, peels away the mythology to examine the real history of this legendary drink. Kosar shows that its history is at least as fascinating as the legend." (Galveston Daily News)
About the Author
Kevin R. Kosar is the founder of AlcoholReviews.com. His writings on alcoholic beverages have appeared in American.com, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, the New York Press and the New York Hangover.
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Top customer reviews
Instead, Kosar's book seeks to present a clear, concise summation of what is known, what isn't, and what may have happened in the history of whiskey. While obviously appreciating his subject matter, he doesn't dote on it. Rather than the mythical "water of life" for which it's named, Kosar presents whiskey as what it is: a commodity. Whether a means of squeezing extra profit from grain or a method of turning advertising and hype into gold (:::cough::: Johnny Walker Blue :::cough:::), we see whiskey with all the nonsense stripped away. The trick is that this actually makes it MORE interesting, and pulls that trick off in around a hundred pages.
If you're looking to write a lengthy dissertation on whiskey, this book isn't for you. If, however, you're curious about the stuff and looking for a good bathroom read, you have a winner.
Despite being so short, the author manages to pack in a ton of information on the process of making whiskey plus thorough coverage of the history of whiskey plus ample information on the modern whiskey industry. He does this while keeping it interesting and not making it feel rushed. The included pictures are great and really add to it. I wish more authors wrote like this. Naturally, there is only so much information that can be shoved in such a short book but the author does an excellent job of giving a general survey of everything whiskey.
In short, if you are interested in learning more about whiskey, this book is a quick read yet comprehensive and entertaining. Highly recommended.
One note on Kindle versus print, if you have a classic black & white Kindle, you may consider purchasing the print edition instead of the Kindle edition due to all of the pictures included in the book. They don't work too well on the small, black & white Kindles.
I bought the kindle version (cheaper, immediate), and it is full of typesetting and formatting errors. I'm not sure if that's the product of print-to-digital translation or what.
It is also full of badly edited writing. I could overlook most of it, but treat this book as an 'intro to whiskey', as it will teach you enough to want to buy another book.
I purchased Bourbon, Straight: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey after this, and it is exactly what I'd hoped this book would be. Highly recommended.
Some oddly incorrect factoids: "single malts...which started the century as a distinct second to blends, have become unbelievably popular." While it is true that single malts have exploded in popularity, blends still account for over 90% of all Scotch sales worldwide.
But the fatal error is this:
"All scotch whisky is made from water, peated barley, and yeast." -- WRONG. The VAST majority of Scotch whisky is unpeated. Only the Island and perhaps 20 percent of the rest of the countries whiskies are made with peated malt. And this is not just a single nod -- the description of Scotch as by definition peated is everywhere throughout the book. It makes you wonder if the author had even tried Aberlour, or Glenlivet, or Glenmorangie, or The Macallan, or Balvenie, or etc, etc, etc.
Basically, the author appears to have no idea of the character of probably 80% of all the whisky made on planet Earth today. Given the title, I think that's unacceptable.
Talisker is placed in the Highlands, instead of where it belongs, with the Islands.