This is, we believe, a one-stop-shop book for Whiskey. it is probably the only book on the subject you will need and it does a great job at getting you excited about Whiskey.
I've already read this I and I want to thank @lewbryson for writing it! Click To Tweet
But I will say this much: this is the book you want and need if you’re just starting out in whiskey.
Bryson maps the major styles of whiskey, from bourbon to rye to Canadian, from Irish to Scotch to Japanese, and from craft to the various world whiskeys (that is, from growing markets such as India and Taiwan). He describes what sets the various styles apart from one another; so, for example, he details the grains that are in each style, the barrels it’s aged in, the climates and warehouses that hold it, and the length of time it’s aged.
Scotch, for example, is made primarily or exclusively from malted barley; it’s aged in used barrels (normally bourbon, but with some sherry and other wine casks tossed in for additional flavour); it ages in a cooler climate that enables longer ageing; and it can age for up to 30 years or more without getting too woody.
Bourbon, conversely, is made primarily from corn, with other grains in the mix to add accent flavours; it ages in new oak barrels that impart more woodiness than do scotch’s used barrels; it ages in a warmer climate that ages it more rapidly than Scotland’s cooler climate; and therefore, it usually reaches its peak at roughly 10-12 years.
Each individual style is different, and Bryson masterfully explains how those differences affect the flavours of the finished product.
Every whiskey drinker starts somewhere. I started with bourbon and moved to scotch and then rye and on to other styles. When I started drinking scotch, I couldn’t begin to understand what made it unique until I started reading books that helped me puzzle it all out. Tasting Whiskey is such a book.
Its other strength is the infographics the book uses to illustrate some rather complicated concepts. I write about whiskey, and so I know that it’s not always easy to describe, in words, the effects of barrel ageing, or how barrel placement in a warehouse affects how quickly or slowly the whiskey ages.
A great read. Highly recommended
Even Lew thinks so…
“Great review of Tasting Whiskey; thanks! The love shown the book by industry people is so gratifying.”