Page: previous , next

Cardhu, The World of Malt Whisky, Brian Spiller, John Walker & Sons Limited ed., 1985.

This very well written book documents the story of Cardhu, distillery owned by 2 generations of Cumming for over 75 years, including the first women to manage a distillery in Scotland, Elizabeth Cumming. The book reads smoothly and described the evolution of the distillery over time. A few black and white photographs are included in this book, as well as a few drawings. The number of photographs are a bit limited to my taste, with only 1 picture of the "inside" of the distillery (the boiler) was included. Also, no information about the size of the washbacks, capacity of the stills or similar technical details are available. It remains indeed a good book that should please anyone interested in the distillery of Cardow/Cardhu.

Rating: 4/5


Malt Whisky Yearbook 2010, 5th Edition, Ingvar Ronde, MagDig Media Ltd, 2009.

Just received on time for my birthday, I again thoroughly enjoyed this new edition of the Malt Whisky Yearbook. As mentioned on the cover page, every year, this book is completely revised and updated. Although the same authors have remained for the key articles, the topic of these articles are different from the previous versions, with most of them orientated on the financial and business of the whisky (e.g., Whisky & Recession, Whisky and Europe). The quality of all articles is very high, but the most interesting one for me was "The Whisky Year That", which summarizes all the changes occurring during the last year, that are clearly noticeable when you read the section about the distilleries. New for this year are the "in focus" sections about the different steps in the whisky production, including the interview of several whisky men. If you want to stay updated about the whisky world, this is definitely the book to buy. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5


The Whisky Distilleries of Scotland and Ireland, Philipp Morrice, Harper Publishing Ltd, 1987

The book is quite impressive, with its beautiful leather cover, its thick paper and its superb drawings by Peter Haillay. Written 100 years after famous "The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom" by A. Barnard, P. Morrice is retracing the itinerary of A. Barnard by visiting all the distilleries in UK and Ireland. Each distillery is described over a couple of pages, with the text well written, in the same style as A. Barnard. P. Morrice did an excellent job with his "Schweppes Scotch Guide" and I was expecting the same amount details regarding the size and shape of the stills, the type of barley and cask used. Technical details are provided, but not exhaustively. Written in 1987, a few years after the whisky loch from the 1980s and the closure of many distilleries, P. Morrice had the chance to visit many distilleries demolished since then (e.g., Glen Albyn or Pittyvaich). A nice legacy to this dark period.

A difficult book to find, very pricey, but most interesting, printed according to the highest standard, and a worthile addition to any serious whisky library.

Rating: 5/5


World book of Whisky, Brian Murphy, William Collins Sons and Company Ltd, 1978

First, this is an old book, secondly it covers all the world whiskies, the section on the whisky barons is limited and the pictures of Glendullan have been inverted with the ones from Convalmore. Once this has been said, I was not expected to learn much out of this book and I was wrong! This book is a real gem for anyone interested in the production process in the 1970s. The amount of information and details provided is exceptional and I learned a lot from whisky. Although Brian Murphy was not a "whisky writer" as we know today, the insight he gives us about malt whisky, but also blended whisky is just impressive. I only wish that this book could be updated as in 2009-2010. Nowadays, we talk quite a lot about the new whiskies countries, but looking back at the 1970s, "rest of the world" whisky production was already quite active.

If your interest lies in the very latest information, this book is definitely not for you. If you the slightest interest in the development of the whisky world, then I can only recommend you wholeheartedly this book.

Rating: 5/5


Whiskypedia, A Gazetteer of Scotch Whisky, Charles McLean, Birlinn, 2009

With such a title, one could imagine getting access into Charles McLean encyclopedic knowledge of whisky, as this was done for Scotch: A liquid history. The book is about the size of a pocket and although it contains over 300 pages, the amount of information is not to my expectations. Passed my initial deception, this book is nicely written, contains a short introduction, historical and production process overview. Then the rest of book contains historical notes about each distillery, including curiosities, a list of current bottlings from the owner, as well as a few technical details. Concerning the layout, it is very spacious allowing a comfortable reading. In conclusion, if you are looking for a compact directory of the Scotch distilleries, then you will enjoy this book very much.

Rating: 4/5


A Teacher's Tale, Helen Arthur, Allied Domecq UK Ltd, 2005

The layout of this book is very attractive and richly illustrated. This book covers the history of Wiliam Teacher, as well as the brand he created in 1862 " William Teacher's Highland cream" and its development until 2005. Helen Arthur dug through the rich archives from the brand to narrate its evolution from the Teacher's grocer shop to the take over by Pernod Ricard and Fortune Brands in 2005. The history is interesting, but the text lacks some flows, not as smooth as the Teacher's whisky.

Rating: 4/5


The Malt Whisky File, John Lamond and Robin Tucek, Canongate, 4th edition, 2007.

The structure and the layout of this book is very similar to Michael Jackson's "Whisky Companion". It contains a short introduction about whisky processes before presenting succinct information about the different distilleries, including the tasting notes of several products from those distilleries. Some information in this book should still be updated (e.g., the stills at Ardmore were not coal-fired at the time of publication).

Yes, this is another "tasting book", but what I appreciate in the description of the malt tasted is that no rating is provided. Instead, the level of peatiness and sweetness is indicated. The tasting notes are for once clearly readable and understandable and allow the reader to observe the changes in flavours profiles over time for some distilleries. In conclusion, it is a pleasant and enjoyable book to read, allowing the whisky amateur to select a whisky based on his/her flavour preferences.

Rating: 4/5

On the making and drinking of Fine Scotch Whisky, Roland G. Caldwell. Morningside Press of Venice, 3rd Edition, 2006.

Available via print on demand, this is the interpretation and understanding of the making of Scotch Single Malt. The title seemed interesting, but the content of the book is unfortunately disappointing. The writing is very repetitive and although the author is (was) an analyst and this was the third revision, his statements have obviously been verified. In reading the book, it is clear that the author does not the legal definition of Scotch whisky, the terminology used for describing the production process is not correct and I will stop here. Unless you have time to lose, invest money in a proper whisky book.

Rating: 1/5

Bottled History, Ian Macilwain, Envisage books, 2009.

The hard cover version of Ian Macilwain's is a piece of art in itself. The quality of the photographs (in particular the lightning) and of the layout is simply amazing! His approach in photographing distilleries is original, different and I love it. It is on ode to the lost whisky world and every image is like a beautiful and complex whisky: each time you sample it you discover something new.

On his website (, he is quoting Alice's Adventure in Wonderland. To me, this book is Ian's adventure in the whisky wonderland.

If you like whisky and photography, this book should be on your bookshelf. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

Rating: 5/5


Truths about whisky, Classic Expressions, 2008

This is the third book from Classic Expressions I purchased, and the quality of the print is exemplary. Interestingly, I started to read this book, just after I read the first chapter of “lost distilleries of Ireland” from P. Townsend. This was an excellent preparation for this book, written on behalf of the most prestigious Dublin Distilleries at the end of 19th Century. It is often forgotten or ignored, that until the American Prohibition, Irish whisk(e)y was the most commonly drunk whisky and that the Scotch whisky was lagging behind its cousin. At this time, the distilleries of Messrs Powers, Jameson & Roe dwarfed the Scottish distilleries in terms of production. In addition, probably linked to the volumes of productions, they reached a high consistency in terms of quality. This book describes their position regarding the silent spirit (grain whisky) produced in Scotland and the “adulteration” of Irish whisky with Scotch malt and grain whisky. Surprisingly technical, this book is a fascinating source of information about Irish whisky and the production of Pot Still whisky in this country.

Rating: 5/5

Copyright © 2009 All Rights Reserved


About this site

Whisky ?



Tasting notes





Whisky Clubs

Other Links