As I may have already mentioned several times - I love a good whisky (by which I will always mean a Scottish single malt, I accept that other people make excellent whiskey/whisky/rye/bourbon and so on but it's scotch that really works for me and I'm sticking with it) and I love reading about it just as much as drinking it. Maybe more, there is after all no hangover from reading.
For a long time I was faithful to the Micheal Jackson guide but it does no harm to be promiscuous with books and I've been flirting with David Wishart's 'Whisky Classified' just recently after spotting the 10th anniversary edition. What grabbed my attention was the sub title 'Choosing Single Malts By Flavour' - this is a terribly fashionable way to approach Whisky at the moment (and may seem obvious to the uninitiated) but ten years ago it would have been revolutionary. Back in October I spent a whole day re arranging the malts at work along flavour profiles (defined by our buyers and I'm inclined to argue with some of their classifications - but that's another story) before this Whisky was arranged and marketed by geography which has it's advantages but struggles to accommodate the huge variations in style you can get from distilleries pretty much next door to each other.
The Jackson guide is excellent but at its heart it's a catalogue which assigns each malt a score that's purely the result of one man's personal opinion. Jackson's was a learned, generally reliable opinion, but in all the years I used the book I don't remember seeing any break down of how he reached a score. Wishart's system is different - he breaks down a dozen flavour profiles - convenient once you work out what he means (this was for me the hardest thing about learning how to taste wine, but once you break the code it's a really useful tool), divides distilleries into clusters, and uses a plethora of charts - all designed to help you identify what you like.
He also has a pronunciation guide for each whisky; Gallic is a tricky language so I'm grateful to have it confirmed that Allt A Bhainne is pronounced owlt-ah-VAN-ya or that Dailuaine is dal-YOO-in for example (also I've just amused myself and the Scottish one by confirming the pronunciation of Springbank, Longmorn etc). It's a little thing but I like attention to detail. After that each whisky gets an entry about it's history,a tasting note, and a break down of it's flavour profile. Honestly I'm impressed - there's a lot of information for the reasonably knowledgeable (such as myself) with plenty of room for debate, but for the novice I can't imagine a better place to start. I like this book so much that I'm going to phone our training department tomorrow and suggest that this is the book we should be using (it's far better than the one we have).