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’.
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.
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.
(ISBN NL: 9789027497192, ISBN EN: 9789078668107)