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“Because you can't buy happiness... but you can buy whisky and that's pretty much the same thing”

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Whisky The Manual by Dave Broom Review

By Miguel in Books

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

Science and Commerce of Whisky Review

By Miguel in Books

Today I don’t review a whisky but a book about Whisky: “The Science and Commerce of Whisky” written by Ian Buxton and Paul S Hughes ( and you can guess which part has each of them has written :P ).


If you come to me and ask me a good book about whisky this won’t be my first recommendation but once you have read Michael Jackson’s Whisky book and you start wondering how whisky is done, how whisky became what it is nowadays and what is its future then this book is a great reading.

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Whiskey by John Lamond Review

By Miguel in Books

If you are new to Single Malt Whisky this book will give you an interesting and fast insight into Whiskey world and it will surely move you to learn more and more about this deliciously complex spirit.


I don’t usually do reviews of whisky books although I have quite a collection of them at home. This book, Whiskey by John Lamond, that has fallen in my hands is part of the Princenton Architectural Press’s Instant Expert series.

The idea behind the book is to turn yourself into a expert in a pocket book that you can carry with you. Have they succeed on the task? No, mainly because you can’t be turned into a whisky expert by any book but I have to say it is a quite interesting reading.

The book is structured in several parts, each of them quite accessible.

The first section is about whisky fundamentals were briefly you are introduced to whisky ingredients, the different steps involved in making whisky, the different types and some tips about how to drink whisky ( you should really read this one if you are interesting in learning how to taste whisky ).

Then the second part of the book is a collection of distilleries information and must-know as well as tasting notes without scores ( but with an useful “Expert Essential” seal on some bottles ) of Single Malts, Blends, Irish Whiskey, American whiskeys and international whiskies.

The thrid and quite interesting part of the book is about several topics quite related to the whisky world: how to enjoy the whisky best, bottles and age statements, styles of whisky, tips for buying at auction and retails ( if you really want to save money check prices first at A Wardrobe of Whisky ) and tips about how to store your whisky to get the best of it. Finally it has a list of places where you can learn more about whisky.

A decent book about Whisky. And quite good sized.

Michael Jackson's Scotland and its whiskies review

By Miguel in Books

Scotland and Its Whiskies: The Great Whiskies, the Distilleries and Their Landscapes

This book, written together with the photographer Harry Cory Wright is about a travel around Scotland and its landscapes, distilleries, whisky bars, shops and bottles.
Each page is accompanied by stunning images of Scotland landscapes.
If you plan to travel to Scotland and want to get ideas or if like me, you can’t afford traveling there, this book is an excellent way of knowing it.

I almost can feel the sea splashing on my face!

Buy Scotland and Its Whiskies: The Great Whiskies, the Distilleries and Their Landscapes at Amazon.co.uk

Brian Townsend's Scotch missed: Scotland's Lost Distilleries review

By Miguel in Books

Scotch Missed: Lost Distilleries of Scotland

Scotch missed is a most interesting book that after explaining the events that have been happening in the whisky industry for the last two centuries starts to write about each of the now closed and dismantled distilleries of Scotland.
For each distilleries, Townsend writes about its history, owners and how ( and usually why ) the distillery finished its days. It has many great black and white photos of the distilleries.
So if you are ever curious about Scotland lost history, this book comes in your rescue.

Buy Scotch Missed: Lost Distilleries of Scotland at Amazon.co.uk

Martin Green's Collecting Malt Whisky review

By Miguel in Books

Collecting Malt Whisky: A Price Guide

Colleting Malt Whisky: A price guide features an extensive list of bottles from many distilleries sorted by distillery each with the price tag that it has scored in auctions from years 2000 to 2006. The bottles are hard to find and usually very old.
For me it is a boring book, that lacking totally of passion, is more about investing in whisky than collecting it. It doesn’t worth the paper it is printed on.

Buy Martin Green’s Collecting Malt Whisky at Amazon.co.uk

Charles Maclean's Whiskypedia, A gazetteer of Scotch Whisky review

By Miguel in Books

A most interesting book because of it contents about Scotland’s distilleries.

MacLean's Whiskypedia

Whiskypedia starts with a historical overview of the whisky industry and then a brief guide about how to read the bottle label.

Then Charles Maclean proceed to write about Scotland distilleries, one at a time, explaining historical facts, where the distillery is located and how to contact them: phones, emails, website and address. He also writes about the distillery most common expressions of whisky.
It is really interesting the technical info about where the raw materials comes from: water, barley, the size of the distillery, the kind of barrels use to mature whisky and the typical style of the newmake liquor.

There is a last section where review relevant facts of the industry nowadays like top ten selling malts, who owns who and consumption of whisky by countries.

Buy Charles Maclean’s Whiskypedia at Amazon.co.uk

Michael Jackson's Whisky: The definitive world guide to scotch, bourbon and whiskey review

By Miguel in Books

A gorgeous book. Think of it as the big brother of Malt Whisky Companion. Impressive photographs and a most interesting chapters.

Whisky: The definitive world guide to scotch, bourbon and whiskey

Written in two big sections, the first one explains how whisky is made from water, barley and yeast to cask ageing. Then as in Malt Whisky Companion it explains where flavors comes from. A very interesting section to know how whisky is made and why it tastes the way it does.

Then proceed Michael Jackson write about the main world whisky producers countries: Scotland with its different regions, single malts, vatted and blended whiskies, Ireland, Canada, USA and Japan with a final small section about rest of the world. For each part writes about most relevant distillers introducing interesting facts and short history of the distillery along with great photos and one or two tasting notes. All tasting notes has no score at all. Most of the distilleries are grouped by proximity.

I really love this book because in less than three hundred pages it shows most relevant facts about whisky that every connosieur should know about.
The only problem I see with the book is that sections for whisky outside of Scotland are not really as well done but still it is a must-have.

Buy Michael Jackson’s Whisky: The definitive world guide to scotch, bourbon and whiskey at Amazon.co.uk

Ian Buxton's 101 whiskies to try before you die review

By Miguel in Books

101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die

101 Whiskies to try before you die” is a discover this and that whisky list so you can make your mind about them than a list of best whiskies or a tasting notes guide. It is a good purchase if you have fresh cash and want to be guided in your discovery of whisky world.

This book is a list of whiskies wide available and affordable ( I still don’t get the reasoning of saying a 500 whisky bottle is affordable but …) that everyone should try. It is is not about best whiskies nor about whiskies to collect, just about a hundred of whisky bottles that every whisky lover should try.

Then Ian starts with the list. Each bottle has a big sized photo of the bottle, its price range expressed in a scale from 1 to 5 stars and then a bit of chit chat about the bottle, with some interesting facts about the distiller too. Also along each bottle is a tasting note without score using nose, taste and finish written in a simple plain language ( you know, smells of wood instead of sandalwood of Calcuta with the moon is raising over the horizon on the second half of the years that ends in six and are not divisible by four ). Below each tasting note you have a single line space where you can write down what you think of the whisky. I feel there is only room for like or dislike, so don’t get too excited writting.

A good interesting proposal to discover whiskies from all around the world, many reasonably priced and of all kinds: single malts, blended, vatted, whiskey, bourbons. Inspiring.

Buy Ian Buxton’s 101 whiskies to try before you die at Amazon.co.uk

Michael Jackson's Malt Whisky Companion review

By Miguel in Recommended , Books

Perhaps the best whisky book out there about whisky and single malts. I reviewed the 5th edition

Malt Whisky Companion 6th Edition

Really intructive with a very interesting section that analyze the flavor of whisky and where it come from. The book is very centered in Scotland and well it is now more than seven years old but if you are new to malt whisky and what to raise your education on the matter this is a must-read book.

First, Michael Jackson writes about new trends in malt whisky, with a really sighful vision of the future: microdistillerries, japanese malts, Islay whiskies, different kind of malts from the same distillery ( see Bruichladdich or Springbank ), wood finished whiskies, cask strength, vintages, single cask and unchillfiltered whiskies.

Then proceed to explains the possible origins of whisky, malt whisky and blended whiskies. Also how to read whisky labels and understand the different terms written like single malt, peated, sherry aged, cask strenght, single cask, etc…

Then Michael Jackson writes a full section explaining there flavors of whisky comes from: regional variations of Scotland, different kind of waters, peat, heather, types of barley, seaweed, shapes of the still, kind of casks. It is a most interesting chapter that everyone that want to know about whisky should read. The book also portraits maps of Scotland with its distilleries.

Michael Jackson writes about age statement on whiskies and discuss which age is better for whisky and the reasons behind most distilleries range of single malt whiskies.

Malt Whisky is centered in distillies of Scotland, it writes about its history and relevant facts, its house style and then some tasting notes of its most relevant bottles along with color reproductions of some of the whisky bottle labels. Michael Jackson use a five points score system: color, nose, body or mouthfeel, palate and finish. His recommendations are whiskies above 80 and very few are beyond 90. The tasting notes are more rigurous that Jim Murray’s and they also has recommendations about how to get the most of each whisky.

If you were going to buy just one book about whisky you better make sure it is this one. The best most complete malt whisky book I have ever read. Really recommended. There is also a new edition published recently where Dominic Roskrow, Gavin D. Smith and William C. Meyers update Michael Jackson’s work, as he passed away in 2007 of a heart attack. A huge lost for whisky world.

Buy Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion at Amazon.co.uk