Category: Books

The Whiskyphiles library of whisky books

Scotch – Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart


The Water of Life – such was the original Gaelic name for whisky, a succinct expression of the worship which the Highland spirit has always inspired, from those misty days when it was the coveted brew of mountain tribesmen, to its now acknowledged eminence, liquid gold, the tax-gatherer’s joy, “like magic in a pint bottle”.

The author, who has known Speyside from boyhood, tells his story of the whisky world with a wealth of knowledge and anecdote. Like many another of Highland blood, he mourns the eclipse of the great malt whiskies, and writes nostalgically of them and the men who created them with loving care beside the waters of Spey and Livet. Those early distillers were the founders of the present tradition of “Scotch”; earlier there had been a century, rich in legend, of struggle between the faithful henchmen of worm and cauldron, and the watchful “gaugers”.

The invention of the patent-still brought the potentialities of world dominion. The foundation of whisky’s empire were laid, and the expansion carried out, by men of colourful personality and formidable dynamism – John and Thomas Dewar, James Buchanan, Alexander and John Walker, John Haig. Sir Robert has many tales of these great figures.

To round off his “personal history”, he tells of the consolidation of the Distillers Company Ltd, of the fortunes of whisky during Prohibition, and of the state and condition of its empire in the abasements and upheavals of our times.

Malt Whisky Companion – Michael Jackson


Michael Jackson’s essential read for the whisky connoisseur – fully updated 6th edition

Discover all about whisky from this new and updated edition of the classic, definitive guide to malt whiskies, by the late Michael Jackson. You’ll learn everything you wanted to know about your favourite tipple. From why you should choose Islay, the Islands, or the Highlands, to which whiskies are light and flowery, or rich and treacly.

Find whisky tasting notes on over 1,000 malts arranged from A-Z, including vintages from 1926 onwards. Over 500 new bottlings are reviewed and scored – plus hundreds of revised entries. Packed with the latest releases and brand new tasting notes from every distillery in Scotland. Plus, reviews of malts from around the world, including Ireland, Japan and newer producers from California to the Czech Republic.

Updated by whisky experts Dominic Roskrow, Gavin Smith and William Meyers

The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom – Alfred Barnard


Around 1885, Alfred Barnard was secretary of Harper’s Weekly Gazette, a journal dedicated to the wine and spirit trade. In order to provide his readers with the history and descriptions of the whisky-making process, Barnard decided to visit all distilleries in Scotland, England and Ireland. Accompanied by friends, he visited over 150 distilleries. The names found in his reports still excite the dedicated whisky connoisseur today, as well as others whose fame has faded since the end of the 19th century.

The appeal of Barnard’s book lies not only in the technical descriptions of each distillery’s processes, but also in the colourful descriptions of his journeys, brimming with historical colour and detail. A superbly illustrated facsimile edition, with over 200 engravings, this book is a complete guide to the origins of Scotland’s national drink, as well as a lively picture of life and travel in the Victorian age.

Malt Whisky – Charles Maclean


Malt whisky has captured the hearts of spirits drinkers worldwide, especially in recent years. This fully revised and updated edition of the award-winning Malt Whisky is now in a handy portable size, making it the perfect companion for touring Scotland s distilleries. First published in 1997, the book has been printed in six languages and continues to be a key reference on the subject. Charles MacLean is a world authority on Scottish whisky and in this book he explores the history of malt whisky. He explains how whisky is distilled, how the ingredients added at each stage of the process contribute to the flavour of the finished product, and the contribution made by geography to the style and character of individual malts. To complete the picture he explains how best to appreciate and evaluate its subtleties and how to describe the aromas and flavours of whisky. A detailed A-Z directory features all of Scotland s distilleries and includes tasting notes on a selection of the whiskies produced. Full colour maps locate the distilleries, while over 150 photographs capture the essence of the spirit and how it is made. A reference section completes the book with tips on buying malt whisky, a guide to distillery visitor facilities and the best whisky societies and websites available worldwide. Malt Whisky offers all the information any malt lover could ever need to appreciate this magical spirit to the full. Use it for buying decisions, tasting appreciation, or simply for armchair dreaming, dram in hand.

The A-Z of Whisky – Gavin D. Smith

The A-Z of Whisky Gavin D Smith

very conceivable whisky-related word are included from aftershots to wort by way of Irish, Islay and peat reek. No linguistic stone is left unturned by Smith in this most essential of reference works for the whisky enthusiast. Now fully updated with many new references and revised entries, the A-Z is a must for all whisky fans worldwide. ‘As a source of reference it is reliable and quickly accessed…as an aide memoire it is invaluable’ – Charles MacLean.

Scotch Missed – Brian Townsend

Scotch Missed - Brian Townsend

A welcome revised fourth edition detailing the remnants and ruins of almost every Victorian working distillery in Scotland. In this edition the author has fully updated the most recent closures and has sourced new archive photographs of many of Scotland’s lost distilleries. The distilleries featured vary from the remnants of once great industrial concerns such as Port Dundas in Glasgow, Saucel Distillery in Paisley to a mere tumble of bricks and mortar lying in a remote location like Glen Tarras at Langholm. Townsend’s detailed research brings to life a large portion of Scottish industrial heritage which would otherwise have been ignored and he has enlivened this with interviews of the last people to work those long gone stills. He has also tracked down the whisky which in some cases still exists. Fully illustrated with records past and present, maps and essential OS map reference index.

Whiskypedia – Charles Maclean

Why does Scotch whisky taste as it does? Where do the flavours come from? How might they have changed over the years? The flavour of Scotch whisky is as much influenced by history, craft and tradition as it is by science. Whiskypedia explores these influences. Introductory sections provide an historical overview, and an explanation of the contribution made by each stage of the production process. Each entry provides a brief account of the distillery’s history and curiosities, lists the bottlings which are currently available, details how the whisky is made, and explores the flavour and character of each make. Charles MacLean has spent thirty years researching, writing and lecturing about Scotch whisky. Whiskypedia is the result of deep immersion in its subject. It will guide, entertain and inform novices and experts alike.

The Whisky Trails – Gordon Brown

This is a book for tourists and whisky buffs who want to see the land of the world’s leading spirits industry for themselves. Scotland has been making whisky for hundreds of years and distilleries large and small are scattered throughout its landscape. The whisky-producing areas are in the North Highlands, the North-east coast, the East Highlands, Speyside and Glenlivet, the West coast and islands and the Central and Southern Highlands, some quite close to Glasgow and Edinburgh, so the tours cover almost the whole country. This guide details some 120 distilleries, giving their visiting times, their facilities, a history of the distillery, profiles of the whisky makers and a description of the whisky itself. There are also pointers to sites worth visiting in the neighbourhood of each distillery.