The second book review on my blog! In October of last year a serious amount of whisky books was released. This one and Dave Broom’s World Atlas as well as the annual Malt Whisky Yearbook and Whisky Bible. I hadn’t gotten around to reading this one, but I finally did last week. Here’s what I think:
Roskrow’s writing style is very easy to read so you fly through the book. He also has taken time to write (rather short) articles on distilleries, which more often than not are a fun read instead of boring statistics and dates. The start of the book is very much oriented at beginning whisky fanatics with notes on the different kinds available, as well as general terminology and a ‘how to taste’ bit.
The list of ‘750 essential drams from Tain to Tokyo’ makes no sense at all. Of distilleries that have not produced many great whiskies there are many entries. And yes that is opinion, but in this case, the averages don’t work. A couple that stand out: 11 Arrans, 16 BenRiachs (recent ones, not the ones from the seventies), 11 Benromachs compared to 5 Bowmores and 2 Broras and 1 Rosebank. It just doesn’t add up (well, it does, to 750…).
Also, in the introduction there’s a line or two on why independent bottlers are not included (highly limited turn-outs and such), but there are single cask releases by distilleries themselves which are just as limited. The one entry that stood out most was the Cougar bourbon. This one is only in there because other people said it was great. However, its long gone (limited release issue?) and Dominic hasn’t tasted it for himself.
The list is more like ‘what-official-bottlings-have-been-released-over-the-last-few-years’ than anything else. In my opinion, and also when I browse around the internet to view the general consensus on whiskies there are many classics missed and some utterly obscure and unpopular bottlings have made it in. The redeeming factor of this book is the witty writing style that I really enjoy and therefore I warrant it a star. Only one, though.
The book is available through all major book sellers for about €25 and up.
PS: on that Cougar thingy:
Apparently its a Bourbon, distilled by Foster’s, the Australian beer brand. For some reason it still makes an appearance in the categories USA and Rye! WTF?