The World Atlas of Whisky is Dave Broom’s newest book and has been released late last year. I have finished it for a while, but have never gotten around to writing a review of it. Since Hans Offringa is translating it to a Dutch version its bound to become a little bit more popular here so I thought it time to post my findings.
The book takes a different approach to describing distilleries, since Dave has taken great effort to write a very good summary of all distilleries in the book, from their founding to recent history. Many of the train tracks, harbours and roads come into play as to why distilleries are where they are. I like the fact that there are so many distilleries described in great detail. It reminds me a little bit of the (far more elaborate) Japanese Whisky by Ulf Buxrud.
Of course, a whisky book wouldn’t be a whisky book if there weren’t heaps of tasting notes in it. Although I am a fan of tasting notes, I don’t read them in books. I reckon there is no point in reading them unless you are planning to visit the distillery and are looking into what to get there. I skipped most of them, although I did read quite a few. Mostly because in the description of the process at a given distillery there would be hints to heavy and light spirits, lyne arms, copper contact and I was curious to read what the resulting taste would be. Well done to get me reading more!
The pictures in the book are simply fenomenal. There are SO many great photographs in it that its barely possible to pick a favorite, so absolutely 100% satisfied on that front.
What I like about the book is that it really is a world atlas, by that I mean that almost all countries that have a distillery that complies with the rules for whisky are described and there are some distilleries I never heard of in countries I wouldn’t expect. Well done again!
Also the division of flavours into flavour groups is also nice. I like the fact that Dave has not succumbed to using geographical locations to group distilleries together flavourwise. No “Islay whiskies are the peaty whiskies” bull. He looks at each individual style and then groups them accordingly.
The only remark I have is that I found a few mistakes in the early chapters of the book in which the distilling process is described. On one line it says that in Irish whisky no peat is ever used, and the next paragraph states that Connemara is a heavily peated Irish whisky. Woe to the proof readers 🙂
EDIT: Dave Broom got back to me to clear this up. The text states that peat is used in Irish Single Malt, and the diagram shows Traditional Irish Pot Still, in which peat is not used. Thanks Dave! Kudos.
So, good writing, good pictures, completeness (is that a word?), maybe a tasting note too many here or there: Highly recommended!