Reviewing today another new whisky book, “Whisky The Manual” by Dave Broom. Personally I have high hopes on this book because I really enjoyed Whisky by Dave Broom.
Whisky the Manual is a book about how to drink whiskies: single malt and blended, but not like you may be thinking ( or I was thinking ) but about how to mix them with six different mixers and how the mix works. Dave tasted 102 whiskies with six different mixers each of them and scored the resulting beverage.
It is quite a odd thing that I have been added recently to a facebook group called Whisky Blasphemy were people mix ultra-top-of-the-shelf drams with other stuff to make cocktails. Oh my God, my heart can’t stand the sight of a Laphroaig 30 years old mixed with vermouth. #thereisnogod #mayyourwhiskyturntintowater.
So to start the book, that it is a interesting blasphemous reading, Dave debunks ( try to, I mean ) six whisky myths. Particularly there are three that I am not so sure… Myth #3 “Whisky should be drink neat”, and then he explain how much people have rejected whisky because of that fire it creates on your mouth. On my case I really love cask strength whisky because that fiery sensations that create inside you. I wouldn’t dilute for any reason and personally I don’t care all that bullshit about adding water ( to dilute it to 20% ABV ) to release aromas. No.
Another one that made me laught was #5 Single Malts are better than blends. Well… I am from Spain, the land of DYC, the county of Johnnie Walker, the kingdom of Cardhu. Here in Spain you can only find blends and eventually a few Cardhu 12 years old, lately you can easily spot Macallan and sometimes, if lucky, a Lagavulin. So my experience with whiskies was mostly with blended whiskies like Johnnie Walker Red ( or the “luxury” Black edition. By the way, read why I can’t stand Johnnie Walker ) or Chivas Regal. And I didn’t like them. God bless the day I tasted my first single malt, a Macallan Elegancia. It started all this. So yes, Single Malts are better than most blended whiskies because usually more care is placed on the final product. Of course there are blended whiskies that are fantastic like anything Compass Box does or Royal Salute 21 years old or Hibiki… but I feel they are more an exception than a rule.
And the final myth #6 “Scotland does the best whisky”. I here agree with Dave but really I don’t think that even the SNP believe this. There are whiskies in Japan that make Scotch whiten and I really love the style that comes from Asia: India and Taiwan are creating awesome stuff.( Anyway, if I had to choose only one, I would die drinking Lagavulin 16 years old. )
Well, the book continues the with the History of Whisky where Dave proposes a few different points of view on whisky history. Then he explains how the whisky is made and where the main ingredients came from: grains, water, peat, yeast, stills and oak. It is worth reading definitively.
And now comes the blasphemous part: He present the six mixers that he is going to use. Water, Soda, Ginger Ale, Coca Cola, Green Tea and Coconut water ( OMG! ). I save you the pain that suppose reading whisky after whisky with all the mixing results. Anyway, there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel… he scored as no mix several whiskies like A’bunnadh, Royal Salute 21 years old or Macallan 18 years old. #hope
Finally the book has a very interesting Cocktails recipes that are really worth trying. I am more of Tequila for cocktails but I have developed a certain love for Manhattan lately. I have to try it with a decent whisky any day…
If you need help mixing your whiskies this book is definitively for you. If, on the other hand, you drink whisky neat ( Aye! Arrghh! Yes! ) then this book propouses a blasphemous point of view with a interesting cocktails section. That’s my two cents… sorry I have to go. I am collecting wood to burn Dave Broom. #Blasphemy