Whisky reading ideas for the holidays
Our founder Kirsty McKerrow shares three top whisky books to devour in your downtime this Christmas…
Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert, Davin de Kergommeaux
A superb resource for the curious whisky drinker. Beautifully researched and detailed. Davin takes the reader on a fully immersive journey into the soul of Canadian whisky.
Written by Davin De Kergommeaux, the world’s leading authority on Canadian whisky and an independent expert who has been writing and teaching about whisky for over two decades. The revised and updated second edition is available to buy through Blackwell’s and Amazon.
Through 25 chapters, Davin explains all aspects of Canadian whisky. Starting with the basic ingredients and an explanation of the production process, he then regresses back in time to the early days of Canadian distillation. This fascinating history is interspersed with traditional stories and folk tales and peppered with compelling characters such as Hiram Walker, Sam Bronfman and Henry Corby amongst others.
I can fully recommend this book to anyone with an interest in increasing their whisky knowledge. Discovering the beginnings of industry hard hitters such as the Seagram dynasty and learning to appreciate the whisky culture of our cousins over in Canada, is a joyous celebration alone. However, the easy-to-read style of Davin, makes this book a must for whisky enthusiasts the world over.
The Craft Distillers Handbook, Ted Bruning
An excellent reference for anyone keen to learn more about the whole process of starting a distillery (whatever size) from legislation to equipment and marketing to accounting, Ted is a master at demystifying these complex topics and laying out the next steps for a novice.
Written by Ted Bruning, a drinks industry and hospitality journalist for nearly 40 years. His bestselling Microbrewers’ Handbook is now in its sixth edition and is available to buy through Blackwell’s and Amazon.
This book almost serves as a pocket-size business mentor, reminding you of areas to explore and think about before taking the plunge. The case studies throughout this book bring a tangible feeling to the material and make relevant the information being learnt, underlining the need to think through every different aspect in advance. It provides a supportive nudge through what must seem like endless red tape to those who pursue their passion.
Fully endorsed by key figures in the industry, this is a must-have for any entrepreneurial distiller. It covers many spirits including – gin, vodka, rum, whisky, brandy and grappa. It makes the perfect read for budding distillers and a superb starting point for those in the early days of formulating their vision.
Spirit of Place, Charles Maclean
A beautifully presented walk through Scotland’s whisky distilleries. For those who missed out on their Scottish distillery fix this year, this is the perfect antidote.
Written by Charlie Maclean, Scotland’s world-renowned whisky writer who has penned more than 15 books about Scotch in a career spanning almost 40 years. He is a Keeper of the Quaich and in 2017 he was inducted into the Whisky Hall of Fame.
This is, as one review puts it, “arm-chair travel at its best” and I couldn’t agree more. Despite living in the Highlands and having visited a fair few distilleries in my time, this book definitely gave me to urge to go and explore Scotland’s distilleries further. The beautiful photography combined with Charlie’s poetic writing style make it a wonderfully informative, relaxing and emotive tour around 50 of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries. Each distillery has a section detailing their history, wonderful anecdotal stories as well as some unusual facts. Maps throughout the book ensure that you always manage to picture the scenery around where you are journeying.
This hardback book is a coffee table gem, suitable for anyone who has an interest in Scotland, Scotch or just fine-looking books. It also serves as a wonderful trip planner or memento for keen travellers. Available to buy through Blackwell’s and Amazon.