View Full Version : Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide ?

05-16-2005, 08:00
Does anyone have this book?

Seems like a great price on amazon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0789497107/qid=1116254866/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-0045487-3891026)

05-25-2005, 11:18
Just got my copy. This is an extremly nice book with lots of photos and descriptions of whiskey production from around the world. There's also a short section on the US micro-distilleries that's very informative.

06-12-2005, 13:50
I just bought this and it is an excellent book (and not only because I am mentioned in the acknowledgments http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif).

The plan is very interesting: the generic aspects of whisky are considered first such as climactic factors (e.g. water, soil), grains, mashing, yeast and fermentation, distillation methods, barrels, aging. And before that is a brief conspectus of whiskey's social and cultural profile. The whiskies of the whisky lands are organised by country and within by state, province, district or city. If this schema does not add always to an understanding of whisky attributes (it does famously for Scotland) it is still a useful way to organise and view the material. The photographs are stunning, Jackson has always used photographs effectively but has gotten even better. The book is partly written by Michael and partly by 10 or so contributors. Stuart Ramsay wrote the Canadian and U.S. sections (although I think I can see the influence of Jackson, in fact throughout the book, I don't know if he was the official editor but since his name appears on the front cover and face page clearly he has reviewed all the text carefully and it hangs together well). Michael wrote the Irish and Japanese sections. Dave Broome wrote the Scotland section. Ramsay is foreign-born (Scots) but lives in the U.S. and clearly devoted a lot of time to studying U.S. whiskey in its fullness. There is a section detailing whiskey in other parts of the world (e.g. Europe) and a brief overview of U.S. microdistilling developments.

If there is one thing I'd change it would be to focus more on rye whiskey. The book has chapters on Pennsylvania and Maryland (noting of course no whiskey is made there now) and this part seems a little awkward although mention of these states can be viewed as justified for historical reasons.

At the end are short essays on whisky cocktails, whisky and food and how to drink whisky proper which are never less than illuminating.

In the countries' discussion, taste notes are given of a handful of products, in side-bars. This works well because the book is not a taste guide as such but rather a survey of whiskey in general.

The book is published in England by the same company that put out Michael's 1987 World Guide To Whisky and many of the design features from the earlier book are reproduced here, the lay-out that is is quite reminiscent of the older book. I think that was intentional, to add to the impression that this book is an update of that earlier book which in effect it is. The blurb states that the 1987 book was the first to bracket Irish, American, Canadian and Japanese whiskies with Scottish whisky, which is very true. We take for granted this kind of optic today but it took a Michael Jackson to create it. The way for example that Malt Advocate and Whisky Magazine cover whiskey would be inconceivable without that first book and Michael Jackson.

A fine effort by the world's leading authority (in my opinion) and a must-buy for any serious student of whisky.


06-13-2005, 03:48
It looks like this book has made it Downunder in limited quantities http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
I picked up a copy this week from Dymocks for $75.00 AU
As I never the original 1987 book, I find at first glance that this is a wonderful and unique way to showcase the world of Whiskey and look forward to reading it in detail. It's already been comented on when it's displayed on the bar http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

06-19-2005, 21:11
It doesn't really contribute to the thread, but I still compelled to add that in my naivete, I wasn't even aware that a book like this existed. I'm going to have to get a copy and maybe search for some other tomes on the subject.

06-19-2005, 21:19
There have been some good threads on bourbon libraries over the last year or so.
I don't have time to locate them at the moment (I'm posting this at work) but run a search for a thread like "A Good Whiskey Library" from the last 12 months.