Sunday, 29 September 2013

Reading List

The other day I was reading The Whisky Lassie's new blog post and her interview with Dominic Roskrow. At the beginning of the post Johanne tells us that she has always been a writer, something that I have never professed to be!

In my school days I was the most likely candidate for being thrown out of my English lessons. I'm not sure that I really did anything wrong, I just told it how it was, I was only interested in engineering and sciences, where everything was either right or wrong and there was no real 'middle ground', so when it came down to expressing how I felt about a particular poem, I usually let my teacher know exactly what I felt....that usually got me thrown out of the class. But why should I have feelings for a poem or a story? It was just a group of words, and certainly not real and of any use to me at the time.

In retrospect it was the English teacher that was wrong, he was unable to convey his love of the English language across to me, and instead of persevering, decided it would be in my best interest to stand in the corridor outside the classroom during a considerable number of lessons. I'm still the same with poems, I don't really care for them, however have learnt to appreciate them.

However when reading Johanne's post, and before she introduces Dominic to her readers, she tells us about her favourite whisky writer, Michael Jackson. Michael died in 2007, long before I had started my whisky journey, and although I have heard only great things about the man, I've never read any of his work.
Not mine, but some of The Whisky Lassie's books
I took a look at the handful of whisky books in my collection, not enough attention had been paid to it and that must change, especially now the nights are drawing in at the end of a particularly fine British Summer. The first whisky book I read was Ian Buxton's 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die. This book was a major milestone. It opened my eyes to the whole world of whisky when I was looking for inspiration and direction to my own whisky journey. 

I also bought a couple of others books at the time, Jim Murray's Whisky Bible and Ingvar Ronde's Malt Whisky Year Book which gave me all of the technical data I often crave. 

Later additions include Richard Patersons's Goodness NoseIan Buxton's 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die and Davin De Kergommeaux's Canadian Whisky, but nothing from Michael Jackson at all.

Not knowing where to start I thought I'd use the Whisky Fabric on Twitter and tweeted the question: What is you favourite whisky book? I was confident that some of Michael's work would be listed along with some other gems. This is the list of books I received and I've already put out a number of enquiries to start adding these to my reading list and bookshelf.
  1. Malt Whisky Companion by Michael Jackson
  2. World Guide to Whisky by Michael Jackson
  3. Whisky A World Guide by Michael Jackson
  4. Everyday Drinking by Kingsley Amis
  5. Raw Spirit by Iain Banks
  6. The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard
  7. World Atlas of Whisky by Dave Broom
  8. Peat, Smoke and Spirit by Andrew C Jefford
  9. Whisky by Aeneas MacDonald 
  10. Whiskypedia by Charles MacLean
  11. Malt Whisky, the Complete Guide by Charles MacLean
  12. The Whiskies of Scotland by R.J.S. McDowell
  13. How to Drink by Victoria Moore
I've just secured a copy of Whisky by Aeneas MacDonald which I'm very excited about, and have ordered a couple of Michael Jackson books; Malt Whisky Companion (4th Edition) and World Guide to Whisky (1987).

I've also picked up a copy of Raw Spirit and will be trawling local bookshops to see what else I can dig out! As I get to them, I'll be posting reviews so keep a look out for them. In the meantime, if you have any others that you think I should add to this list - please let me know, and I'll update it! If you've read something you really liked, why not review it and send it to me, we'll post it here on our Whisky Discovery blog.

Slàinte! Dave


Macdeffe said...

Here are my favourite list of whiskybooks:
Malt Whisky Yearbook, Ingvar Ronde
Bourbon, Straight, Chuck Cowdery
The Best Bourbon You Never Taste, Chuck Cowdery
Canadian Whisky, Davin De Kergommeaux
Peat Smoke and Spirt, Andrew Jefford
Appreciating WHisky, Phillip Hills
Bluff your way in Whisky, David Milsted

No surprise, the last one is my favourite :-)


Dave Worthington said...

Thanks Steffen, a couple more to add to my list there. Ingvar Ronde's Malt Whisky Yearbook is something I look forward to every year. Thanks for the Chuck Chowdery recommendations, will definitely look them out too. Dave

rodbod said...

I would add The Making of Scotch Whisky, Michael Moss & John Hume. Published in 1981, but absolutely the best history of Scotch up to that point.

Also, I'd want to mark down Banksie's book for not having enough whisky in it (and a whole blooming chapter about Landrovers!).

Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie. It's a bit of a stretch to call it a whisky book, but reading it surely gives a man a drouth, and that can't be a bad thing.