Further Reading

Canadan whisky on ice

It can be hard to find reliable information on whisky out there. In addition to the specialist websites that I have linked to throughout this site (and on my reviewers page), here are some worthwhile reads to consider (in no particular order)

Dave Broom’s The World Atlas of Whisky is a classic. Frequently reprinted (and updated), this is the best “coffee table” whisky book I know. Gorgeously illustrated, with tons of background information on distilleries and individual whiskies. Provides recommendations on whiskies to try next (but these seem very idiosyncratic and personal, and not based on any objective analysis). Same goes for the flavour mapping, as discussed here. Still, as long as you not expecting an explanation of why whiskies taste the way do, you should find this book to be a good general resource.

While I’m on the subject, Dave Broom’s Whisky: The Manual is also a good read. The title is misleading though – as one Amazon reviewer noted, it should be called “Mixed Drinks: The Manual”. Again, though highly personal and subjective, it details the author’s sequential experience with mixing a large number of malts and blends with 5 specific agents: soda water (club soda), coke, ginger ale, green tea, and coconut water. Some of his conclusions are directly at odds with received wisdom, but it is certainly thought provoking if you like to, uhm, mix it up a little. 😉

Ian Buxton’s 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die is a lot of fun. The author goes to some pains to explain that this is not a “best of” type of book. The selections are certainly not evenly distributed among whisky types, countries or price. Indeed, there are some ridiculously priced rare whiskies in the list, and some (really) common budget blends. I do like the range of international whiskies included. A highly personal look at what one author considers distinctive. Each whisky is well described, with some interesting perspectives. Take it with a grain of your favourite grain whisky. 😉

if you were to buy just one book on whiskies, I would recommend the latest printing of Dr David Wishart’s Whisky Classified. It is surprising to me that this book is not better known among whisky enthusiasts, but I imagine the statistical methodology is not something most people are familiar with. But as I show on this site, the approach taken by Dr Wishart is the most appropriate to clasifying whisky. The book also has plenty of interesting background on whisky making, and detailed discussions of over a hundred individual whiskies (one per distillery).

Lastly, Whisky Advocate magazine is a good read. Tons of articles in every issue, often with a strong travelog feel. As a result, I find they tend to go a bit over the top on the “terroir” aspect (see my discussion here of what to watch out for on this topic). And of course, you get the short blurbs and scores on recently whiskies (although those are also available for free on the whiskyadvocate.com website).

Hope you find those to be good starting off points!

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