Who knew? There are many hundreds of whiskies. I had suspected that there might be perhaps a hundred from small distilleries in Scotland and Ireland and a few in the US. World Whisky lists over 700 whiskies from as far afield as Japan (the Japanese have a reputation as whisky “enthusiasts”) and Australia.
I am not a Scotch drinker and when questioned I’ll deny that I like whisky at all, but it’s a lie. I do quite like Irish whiskey which has a different palate of flavours from Scottish whisky. There are those who would let nothing but Mellow Corn Whiskey across the cabin threshold so I guess it’s all a matter of taste, or lack thereof; Corn Whiskey said to be best when consumed young but others say it’s just as good if you keep it for a week or so.
World Whisky is a book to be savoured by the connoisseur but will be equally welcomed by those who would like to be. Whisky is a drink to be sipped, lingered over and appreciated. Although not a lover of The Water of Life (uisge beatha in the Celtic tongue), I can understand the attraction. Whisky is collected like fine wine, and anyone interested in such a hobby would do well to invest in this book. There are ample Tasting Note pages for you to create your own list of memorable bottles.
Each of the 700-odd whiskies has a history and taste profile. Old Hokonui from New Zealand has a colourful past. It sports a skull-and-crossbones on the bottle, giving it the air of the illicit which I am sure has added to its popularity.
Yes, this volume presents the quaint and iconic spirits, but it is a serious work and equips the reader with all he or she needs to choose whiskies that will bring comfort to long winter evenings. You’ll learn about the manufacture and evolution of the wee dram but, more importantly, you’ll understand why each glassful tastes the way it does. There is even information about which glasses to use, although some folks say that whisky would taste good even drunk from an envelope; but that’s the voice of desperation.
World Whisky is a hefty 350-page comprehensive guide to whisky: its various classes, its paraphernalia, its past and its future. It’s a fascinating story and illustrates the reason why whisky has remained the beverage of choice for so many discerning drinkers. Great value for money and an ideal Christmas gift.
Editor: Charles Maclean
Published by: Dorling Kindersley
Drinks guidebook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018