Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014
available via www.maltwhiskyyearbook.com
What they say:
The new edition of Malt Whisky Yearbook is published in October. Whisky enthusiasts all over the world look forward to the Malt Whisky Yearbook every autumn. This 9th edition is again fully revised and packed with new and up-to-date information on more than 200 whisky distilleries from all over the world. Distinguished whisky experts such as Charles MacLean, Gavin D Smith, Dominic Roskrow, Ian Buxton, Neil Ridley and Ian Wisniewski contribute with new features written exclusively for this new edition along with details of hundreds of whisky shops, whisky sites and new bottlings. A comprehensive summary of the whisky year that was and all the latest statistics are also included. Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014 includes more than 200 tasting notes describing the flavour of single malts from all working distilleries in Scotland and Ireland. Finally, with more than 500 colour photographs, Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014 is as much an essential reference guide as a book to read for pleasure.
What we say:
The malt whisky yearbook edited by Ingvar Ronde is a yearly guide to all things malt whisky. Published in the autumn of the previous year (usually around October) this book arms you for the year ahead with everything you need to know about the world of whisky.
The 2014 edition is the first I had purchased. After realising I was getting into whisky in a serious way and was rapidly purchasing any books I could get my hands on that dealt with the subject of whisky, it was inevitable that I would come eventually to the yearbook. Luckily for me the 2014 edition was just about to be published so I pre-ordered a copy from Amazon and waited.
On receiving the 2014 yearbook, although I had other whisky books I felt I wanted to read first, I couldn’t help myself from flicking through this copy to look up some distillery or other that was on the fringes of my knowledge. Here in lies the first bonus of this book – particularly for me as my love started with single malt scotch – it is a great encyclopedia of the Scottish whisky distilleries. However I wanted to reserve making a proper review until I had a chance to read this cover to cover.
Starting in October it took me until the end of the year to read this through (almost) completely. I found myself skipping some of the asides regarding the major blenders which usually counter-face the distillery entries that represent the blenders spiritual home. Many of which I have now gone back and read as I find myself delving deeper into the scotch blending industry and understating more about the ownership of certain distilleries and why you wont often find their name on a bottle on the shop shelves.
I now use the guide as a great reference, my only (small) complaint is that for each distillery there is a timeline of its history and a panel about the current operation, e.g. mash tun type and size, number stills and sizes etc. Unfortunately I found this information to be a little varied from entry to entry making it difficult to make comparisons. As a single resource however this is the first place that I go when trying to find out a little more behind where (and how) my dram was produced.
Of the other articles in this book , I found them entertaining upon first read, most represent some personal delving into a specific area of the industry. However most just seem like a little topical padding around what is essentially the core facts in the book. The final section of the book deals with the ever-burgeoning ‘World’ distilleries (i.e. not in Scotland!) in a very compact form. I expect this section will not only continue to grow but may expand in the depth of the data presented.
Finally I would summarise my review by pointing out that this is an industry-focussed book, in that it provides the minimum facts you would probably like to be armed with upon entering the whisky business. With all the timelines and facts and figures it will appeal to most whisky geeks and I would stand by some of the plaudits on the current book; if you are interested in whisky and do buy several bottles, you may find this an interesting read. As a blogger and social commentator on the world of whisky I have found this tome to be invaluable and I am looking forward to purchasing the 2015 edition – if only to see what has changed!
In conclusion buy this book if you love finding out about whisky, or whisky distilleries it is invaluable as a reference. Read it and impress your whisky friends – you too could be a Whiskyphile like us!