10 books on whisky that you should own

Every self-respecting whisky lover has a few books on the golden nectar on his shelf. When you're taking your first steps, the overwhelming choice - Amazon has over 3000 books on the subject on the website - can seem an insurmountable paper mountain. I'm here to help you with my ten favourite books on whisky.

Whisky books

Malt Whisky YearbookMalt Whisky Yearbook - Ingvar Ronde

Ingvar Ronde publishes his Malt Whisky Yearbook since 2005 . It's a combination of interviews, interesting articles about the industry and an overview of the Scottish distilleries with numbers and facts. Malt Whisky Yearbook lists independent bottlers and results and forecasts from the whisky industry. Food for number crunchers.

Available on amazon, bol.com and maltwhiskyearbook.com

World Whisky - ed. Charles MacLean

World WhiskeyThis is the starter's book (as a matter of fact, this was my first book on whisky). Charles MacLean guides the reader through the process of distillation, how to taste whisky and an overview of all the important whisky brands. The book treats well respected names from Scotland, Ireland, Japan and the United States but does not forget emerging countries like Sweden, India and Belgium. The book features a lot of pictures too.

Available on amazon

The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom -
Alfred BarnardThe Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom

Alfred Barnard’s classic book from 1885 is far from forgotten. The book is a time machine to the golden Victorian era. Barnard travelled to Scotland, England and Ireland and wrote down his travels and visits to the distilleries for Harpers Weekly Gazette. He did this when visitor centres were nonexistent. The book is filled with classic sketches and vintage ads.

Available on amazon and bol.com

Whisky The Manual - Dave Broom

Whisky: The ManualDave Broom is widely known as the author of The World Atlas of Whisky. In 2014 he released a more challenging book. Dave sets out to seek how people with different cultural backgrounds enjoy whisky. And he goes a lot further than neat or 'on the rocks'... Prepare yourself for Bowmore with coconut water and Glenfarclas with green tea.

Available on amazon and bol.com

The Science and Commerce of Whisky - 

Ian Buxton & Paul S. Hughes

The Science and Commerce of WhiskyIan Buxton and Paul S. Hughes wrote this book with the knowledge seeking whisky geek in mind. Part one of the book talks about the production of whisky to the smallest detail. A working knowledge of chemistry or a computer with Wikipedia or Google fired up are more than necessary. Part two is less challenging and takes a look at the commercial side of the industry. The four classic marketing P's and the use of social media are only two aspects of this part.

Available on amazon and bol.com

Peat, smoke and Spirit - Andrew Jeffords

Peat, smoke and SpiritAndrew Jeffords' book first came out ten years ago. It is not a whisky book pur sang, but a complete journey to the Queen of the Hebrides: the isle of Islay. Each chapter is alternating between a distillery, a piece on the origin of the island, its geography, the ship wrecks. The perfect start for a trip to the island.

Available on amazon and bol.com

Let me tell you about whisky -
Gavin D. Smith & Neil RidleyLet me tell you about whisky

Another absolute primer on the subject. Neil and Gavin explain the process of various types of distillation with a drawing that could provide starters an aha! moment. They go on with a series of articles about the age of whisky, food pairing and cigars, the appropriate glass. Of course they include a journey through Scotland and the world. They provide you with a few representative whiskies of every region to try out for yourself.

Available on amazon and bol.com

1001: Whiskies You Must Try Before You Die - ed. Dominic Roskrow

1001: Whiskies You Must Try Before You DieThis pretty  extensive book offers exactly what's on the cover: 1001 whiskies from almost every conceivable country. The tasting notes are rather concise but the book is loaded with interesting and fun trivia on the whiskies and the brands behind them. The book features some 800 pictures on bottles, labels, distilleries and vintage ads.

Available on amazon and bol.com

Whisky & Jazz - Hans OffringaWhisky & Jazz

Hans Offringa wrote this book in 2009 and already did a sequel on it with a trilogy on jazz, blues and reggae. The writer first takes a look at ten jazz musicians and ten distilleries and tries to blend whisky and jazz afterwards. Hans pairs f.e. the genius of Miles Davis to Bruichladdich. Two determined jack-of-all-trades who reinvented themselves all the time.

Available on amazon and bol.com

Distilled - Neil Ridley & Joel Harrisson

DistilledThis is not a real whisky book either. Neil and Joel, masterminds behind the Cask Strength blog, guide you on a spiritual journey through everything that is distilled and drinkable. Mainly Gin, vodka, tequila, rum, grappa and cognac. And of course whisky. They leave no stone unturned. Through the book you'll find some recipes, DIY projects and interviews with people from the spirit industry.

Available on amazon and bol.com

Bottles make excellent book supports

Other books worth mentioning are: 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die by Ian Buxton, The Legend of Laphroaig by Hans Offringa & Marcel van Gils, Raw Spirit by Iain Banks, Malt Whisky Companion by Michael Jackson and Stillhouse Stories Tunroom Tales by Gavin D. Smith.