Monday, November 28, 2011

Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion

I love whisky – it wasn’t always so, single malt is not generally the first drink of choice for a young woman – my nights in the student union veered between gin and Guinness (very bad Guinness at that), post graduate drinking also featured gin and increasingly wine which eventually led to a job in wine. Wine is a fascinating but it’s a big subject and trying to get to grips with it is a mammoth task. The people that I worked with knew a lot and I wanted my own little niche. That’s where the whisky came in, we sold a lot of it and people would keep asking me about it so I had to learn about it.

The more I learnt the more interested I became until eventually I could drink the stuff without wincing, from there it was a small jump to real enthusiasm (in moderation of course – whisky hangover’s are vile and to be avoided) and now it’s a passion only a little way behind books. Of course it helps that there are plenty of books about whisky...

The best of these (for my purposes) has always been ‘Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion’. Sadly Michael Jackson passed away a couple of years ago and the current edition (no 6) was finished off by others. It’s still a great book (although they’ve let some foreign whiskies sneak in and I’m not sure how I feel about this – there are other books for that kind of exoticism) and as I’ve spent most of the weekend with it I thought I should take a moment to celebrate it here.

It’s basically a dictionary of malts with a little bit about each distillery and then a description with score of all their current bottlings. Really simple and totally fascinating for anyone who likes a good list. Whisky isn’t for everyone but if you do happen to be fond of a dram and a book to read whilst considering it this is such a good book.


  1. This is a great little book, another one is Ian Buxton's 101 whiskies to try before you die
    Or if you want something a bit more humorous Iain Banks Raw Spirit - in search of the perfect dram.

  2. Parrish Lantern - I keep looking at that one, Raw Spirit is indeed great fun and sort of inspired a road trip up and down the A9 last year. It was fun - we came home with an epic amount of malt. I can also recommend 'Whisky Classifies' by David Wishart.