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White Dog
12-15-2010, 20:49
So as I'm reading some of the new Whiskey books like Broom's World Atlas, and Roskrow's World's Best Whiskies, I'm struck by something that I'm sure we've all seen before. Yet another Brit who takes up 3/4 of the book droning on about Scotch, then proceeds to make many small mistakes when it comes to the too small section on American Whiskey.

Now that Hansell has joined Marv Shanken's Wine Spectator universe, with all their publishing muscle, the time is ripe for a thorough, giant, book on American Whiskey. And we all know that Cowdery is the man for the job.

It could expand on Chuck's earlier book by also including detailed profiles of every domestic distiller of Whiskey, including detailed info on EVERY brand and sku, with everything from mashbills, to yeasts, to oak treatment. Also, we want glossy photos and maps, without getting in the way of hard content.

Let's go John. We'll all buy a copy, and Chuck, Shanken, and yourself can make a few bucks.

DeanSheen
12-15-2010, 22:10
Great idea, I would buy one for sure.

We need a go to tome on the American Whiskey experience. Make it so.

Josh
12-16-2010, 06:10
Warning, marginally related rant:

I haven't read Broom's book (although I'm a big fan of Johnson's World Atlas of Wine) but one of the challenges to a book like that is that regionalism is much, much less of a factor in the world of American Whiskey than it is in the world of Scotch.

At one time, maybe you did have a PA style rye or a MD style rye, and now there does seem to be a high-rye "Lawrenceburg style" (although it's more by accident), and one could consider TN whiskey a regional style, but other than that, region doesn't matter. 20 years ago, could one imagine more different whiskeys than Old Charter, Old Forester and Old Weller? But they were all made in Louisville. By contrast one can very much taste the Speyside or Islay when one is drinking Laphroaig, Caol Ila, et al or Macallan, Dalmore, et al.

So I'm not sure if a book that is structured around regions of whiskey production in the U.S. can really be effective.

That said, I'd love to read another book by Chuck and I like big glossy pictures.

White Dog
12-16-2010, 06:58
Warning, marginally related rant:

I haven't read Broom's book (although I'm a big fan of Johnson's World Atlas of Wine) but one of the challenges to a book like that is that regionalism is much, much less of a factor in the world of American Whiskey than it is in the world of Scotch.

At one time, maybe you did have a PA style rye or a MD style rye, and now there does seem to be a high-rye "Lawrenceburg style" (although it's more by accident), and one could consider TN whiskey a regional style, but other than that, region doesn't matter. 20 years ago, could one imagine more different whiskeys than Old Charter, Old Forester and Old Weller? But they were all made in Louisville. By contrast one can very much taste the Speyside or Islay when one is drinking Laphroaig, Caol Ila, et al or Macallan, Dalmore, et al.

So I'm not sure if a book that is structured around regions of whiskey production in the U.S. can really be effective.

That said, I'd love to read another book by Chuck and I like big glossy pictures.

I hear ya, but it wouldn't need to be done in an atlas style. In those British written books, we only get 2 pages on Heaven Hill, then it will list 3 or 4 products.

Chuck could fill a whole chapter on Heaven Hill and it's history, dirt and all, plus pages and pages on the dozens of brands they make. And I would dream about seeing EVERY label all in one place. And I'm just using HH as an example. We would need chapters on FR, WT, BT, B-F, TM, MM, JB, JD, GD, LDI, Anchor... There could be a chapter on silent distilleries. Hell, Stitzel Weller would demand an entire chapter itself. I'd also love a chapter on Michter's, the distillery not the label. Willet/KBD would fill a chapter. A chapter on Rye, covering its east coast beginnings, and extending to a breakdown of every current Rye being produced, both macro and micro. How about a chapter on the history and role of the American oak barrel, extending into it's influence on Scotch. (After all, where would scotch be without Bourbon barrels.)

Come on Hansell, let's get Shanken on board. Chuck??

barturtle
12-16-2010, 07:21
Much as I like Chuck, I'd really rather an update to Regan's The Book of Bourbon.

JohnHansell
12-16-2010, 08:31
I'm listening.

I would LOVE to see a good, thorough, American whiskey book. The M. Shanken Group is more of a magazine publishing and events kind of company. They're not doing much in the way of book publishing, I'm afraid.

That's not to say that he woudn't endorse such a book, but I think it would have to come from one of his full-time writers, which Chuck isn't. (Well, not yet anyway. :) )

pepcycle
12-16-2010, 09:25
Is Hollywood Listening?

Movie Rights?

White Dog
12-16-2010, 09:34
I'm listening.

I would LOVE to see a good, thorough, American whiskey book. The M. Shanken Group is more of a magazine publishing and events kind of company. They're not doing much in the way of book publishing, I'm afraid.

That's not to say that he woudn't endorse such a book, but I think it would have to come from one of his full-time writers, which Chuck isn't. (Well, not yet anyway. :) )

Hello John. Actually, I believe that James Laube's "California Wine," and all the Matt Kramer wine books are published by Shanken Publishing. I know that Laube and Kramer are full-time staff writers, but now that you guys have merged, there are all types of possibilities.

sailor22
12-16-2010, 10:45
If I'm not mistaken Mike Veach has a book something like that near completion.

JohnHansell
12-16-2010, 12:52
Hello John. Actually, I believe that James Laube's "California Wine," and all the Matt Kramer wine books are published by Shanken Publishing. I know that Laube and Kramer are full-time staff writers, but now that you guys have merged, there are all types of possibilities.

Yes, that's true. Marvin isn't 100% against the idea, but it would have to be a full-time writer. (I don't have time to write a book.)

OscarV
12-16-2010, 12:59
If I'm not mistaken Mike Veach has a book something like that near completion.
Yes, we have all been waiting for Mr Veach's book for a couple of years now.
I think it will be out in 2011.

squire
12-16-2010, 17:10
John thanks for the insight. The histories have been well covered so I would like to see a book on current expressions complete with color photos of bottles and labels. I am also more interested in solid descriptions of the whisky's characteristics rather than tasting rankings.

cowdery
12-16-2010, 17:48
Thanks to everyone for all of the kind words. I'm overwhelmed.

Please don't pick on John. He has championed me and my American whiskey writing since Malt Advocate began almost 20 years ago and I appreciate his support and friendship.

The unfortunate reality is that despite the growing interest in American whiskey, the vast majority of whiskey enthusiasts, even in the United States, are primarily interested in single malt scotch. That is even more true over there.

I also don't want to take anything away from Dave Broom, who did a wonderful job with a very difficult task. It's a beautiful book and when you try to do something that comprehensive you are bound to make a few mistakes. To his credit, he reached out to me on some bourbon questions (and gave me due credit), and likewise reached out to Davin de Kergommeaux for help with Canada.

If Broom's World Atlas does well, perhaps some publisher will decide a big budget coffee table book, with a big advance for the author, is a good idea. You know where to find me. :)

jmpyle
12-16-2010, 22:39
Chuck, as I am completely ignorant to this process, what level of effort and coordination goes into putting something like this together? I think many have touched on this but certainly your focus on the history, the "styles" of the distilleries that make the products, and less focus on reviews and other junk, would really be a worthwhile read for the American Whiskey and Bourbon fan.

There's some decent publications out there, but as evidenced by this thread, they can be done bigger, better, and more comprehensive.

I would love for you to share a few of the major moving parts that need to come into shape to get something like this done.

Thanks.

And not to steal thunder from this thread, but Chuck mentioned Davin above in his post. Many know this, but for those that don't, Davin runs a fantastic site, www.canadianwhisky.org. Definitely worth your time to check out when you have a moment.

cowdery
12-17-2010, 10:41
To me the biggest challenge, after finding somebody to fund the project, is gathering and confirming the data and then figuring out a useful way to present it. Also challenging is doing it in a timely way so that everything hasn't changed by the time you finish.

Gary Regan's book shows there is definitely enough material about American whiskey to fill a substantial book. Ron Givens Bourbon At Its Best is a good example of a coffee table type book on American whiskey.

ThomasH
12-17-2010, 18:49
I'm not against some full timer writing a bourbon book, but they should definitely hire some of SB's finest as consultants. Like Chuck said, you know where to find him!

Thomas