cheers and thank you.
I think so, but, of course, I could be wrong. When it comes to bourbon, I am a beginner, and I find the section on bourbon very interesting and informative.
At the same time, I do think you should try things without the aid of such tasting notes, as it can sway your opinion.
In fact, maybe the best thing a beginner could do is just taste as many different whiskies as possible and come to their own conclusion before refering to anyone else's.
I would recommend two types of books to get going.
1) Something about whisky in general - how it's made, what are the differences between different traditions of whisky making, how does wood policy affect flavours, things like that! For this type of book, I would recommend Whisky by Michael Jackson. It's current, recently published, and is edited (and partly written) by someone really well respected. One brief note, the chapters are written by different writers so MJ is a contributing writer and editor here.
I would second Mr Jellis' selection of Malt Whisky by Maclean. Very similar in terms of material covered to Whisky mentioned above, although the book is a bit smaller. It does have the advantage of being written by the same guy so the writing style may be more fluid. I didn't find this a problem in Whisky, but in any book with multiple contributors I would think this to be a risk. [Aidan - I think you're Bio says you're an editor. Any ideas on this?]
2) I would catagorize books here whose strengths are tasting notes. The two that get mentioned most often around here are Malt Whisky Companion (Michael Jackson), and Whisky Bible (Jim Murray). MJ's book has the initial portion describing (short version) the whisky making process - I don't have Murrays book to I can't comment on this. These books are good guides to give you an idea of what a paticular malt tastes like from another's perspective.
Of course the section on this website "whiskies of the world" do much the same thing and are updated constantly. They do not however contain any info about the distillery, usually only reviews on the product.
The only other recomendation I can make is Whisky Handbook by Dave Broom. This book tries to get past looking at whisky as a commodity and collects "snapshots" of interviews by people in the whisky industry about what they think of whisky and the process by which it's made. It reinforces the notion that whisky is made by people and is a craft as opposed to some routine industrial process. Well I'd better be careful here as this may lead to a debate of sorts .
Hope any of this helps.
Everything you need to know about production, factors influencing flavour, history, independent bottlers, etc, etc.....it is all there. Plus, you get a nice little description of each distillery. No other book quite provides all this in one small package, perhaps with one exception (* see below).
Jim Murray's Whisky Bible serves an entirely different purpose - namely to rate, score, and describe current bottlings on the market.
* However, Jim Murray's "Complete Guide to Whisky" (or something like that - I can't remember the exact title) does indeed go into the production side, and gives some background to each distillery. More to the point, it considers whiskies other than scotch, i.e. Canadian, Irish, and American.
Anyway, for me, the interest in the history came about third on the list, after taste and methods of production.
A good idea would be to look at the regions. There was a thread here giving what people thought were the representative whiskies from each region. If you could try them, you'd have a good spectrum to start with.
Also, "Peat Smoke & Spirit" is a good read that will explain more about how a whisky taste, and the workings of a distillery.
Just got back froma trip to Scotland myself, where I picked up a copy og "Whisky Miscelany" by Charles MacLean wich also dives a little more into the seperate subjects of whisky then the average whisky book.
Then there are a mutlitutde of good whisky websites as well where you can get a lot of good information from. Read the forum on this site (use the Search function well if you require any specific info!) as well.
However I found Appreciating whisky by Philip hills
one of the best reads ever!
I would appreciate other opinion, but as a novice myself it gave me an insight into tasting, nosing and chemistry.
But do not under any circumstances be confused into thinking Raw Spirit by Iain Banks - is anything about whisky. bad buy!
mambypamby wrote:does anyone have any good reads to recommend concerning the basic knowledge and how too of whisky? i have recently become interested in knowing more about my drink of choice and i would much appreciate a place to start.
cheers and thank you.
aside from jacksons book the best i have read is Hills' Appreciating Whisky.
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