The Road to Craigellachie – Hans Offringa

I think this is one of the quintessential books on whisky if you’re a Dutch whisky geek. Almost everyone has it or has at least read it, but I hadn’t until now. For some reason I never got around to it, even thought I’ve read the follow up ‘Still Stories’.

De Weg naar Craigellachie

De Weg naar Craigellachie

What this book entails is the way Hans Offringa got immersed in the world of whisky, and how his love for Scotland started and grew.

As anyone who took the effort to read my previous bunch of book reviews knows by now, I’m kind of a sucker for stories at the moment and I’m not reading too much on official whisky history, processes and books filled with just data. This one fits nicely into the category.

It starts briefly with Hans tasting his first whisky, and then quickly moves on to how he went to Scotland for the first time on business. Back then it had nothing to do with whisky, but that wouldn’t be that way for long.

As anyone who has read one of Hans’ books knows, his style of writing is one of the most captivating around. He has a certain ease with which he forms his sentences that make his books very easy to read and it more or less turns everything into a page turner. It’s the case in this book too.

The Road to Craigellachie

The Road to Craigellachie

What he has done very cleverly is combine the history of him, whisky and Scotland until 2003, and the 2003 trip to Craigellachie where he writes large parts this book. His ‘current’ surroundings remind him of  story, and then the story kicks in. It took me a chapter or two to get used to it, but it’s very well done and very captivating.

To make a long story short. It’s a very good, and very recommendable book. It nicely combines the world whisky, the tourism around it and a large chunk of Scottish culture and ties that nicely into a well combined bunch of short stories.

Also, what is surprising is that Hans’ laid back demeanor shines through these stories well. I’ve met the man a couple of times and I think he’s one of the most relaxed persons in the industry. He knows his stuff, he likes to tell stories but all in a very calm way.

Fun fact: By now I think Hans has signed so many copied of ‘The Road…’ (Or, in Dutch, ‘De weg naar Craigellachie’) that I must have one of the rare few unsigned copies!

I believe the book sold out recently and is awaiting reprint, but you can still find it at different shops and whisky retailers.

It’s available in Dutch here, at www.whiskyboeken.nl for € 10.
The English ‘revisited’ version is available from his own site for £ 10

(ISBN NL: 9789027497192, ISBN EN: 9789078668107)

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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2 Responses to The Road to Craigellachie – Hans Offringa

  1. Fred Blans says:

    Dear Mr de Haan-Kramer,
    This book has been on my list for years. I am a bit apprehensive when it comes to books on whisky and wine: they tend to read like a shopping list. I bought Hans’ Whisky & Jazz the other day and was taken pleasantly by surprise. So, another book I can certainly recommend.

    Fred Blans
    http://www.legbeforewicket.nl

    • Hi Fred,

      This book, contrary to many other books about booze in general, is absolutely not a shopping list. Even better, not a single recommendation for a dram or a description thereof is given.

      I think Whisky & Jazz (I have not read that one, yet) has more focus on single whiskies than ‘The Road…’. So, if you’re up for a nice read about whisky that actually has stories, this is it.

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