Why does Scotch whisky taste like it does? Where do the flavors come from? How might they have changed over the years?
The flavor of Scotch whisky is as much influenced by history, craft, and tradition as it is by science. Individual distilleries give their whiskies unique characteristics. These characteristics do not arise magically (as was once thought), nor are they solely the result of the region (as is still thought, by some). They have their roots in the craft and custom of the distillery and of the district in which it is located, but the key influences upon flavor are the distilling equipment itself, how it is operated, and how the spirit is matured.
Whiskypedia explores these influences. For the first time, the flavor and character of every malt whisky distilled in Scotland is explored with reference to how it is made. Introductory sections provide an historical overview, an examination of regional differences, and an explanation of the contribution made by each stage of the production process. This compendium is a comprehensive guide to all the distilleries in Scotland (both malt and grain). 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 flavor and character of each make. Malt whisky is the quintessential spirit of place,” and this element of the story has been captured by John MacPherson's camera in specially commissioned images which compliment the text.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a lovely book about Scottish whisky. MacLean starts by giving a quick history of Scottish distilling; this is helpful in understanding and appreciating the industry of today and it's also very interesting. Then he moves on to "Understanding the Label" with a color photo of a Scotch whisky label and a numbered explanation detailing what each part means. Next is the "Taxonomy" of Scotch and "Regional Differences". He also discusses where flavor comes from, the raw materials in making scotch, malt & the "Plant"/physical parts of a distillery: Mash tun, Washbacks, Stills, Condensers, Casks & Warehouse styles. This is the first 37 pages of the book.
Then on to the part of the book you will use most often: The alphabetical listing of each Scottish distillery, including the new ones who have not yet released a bottling & the silent. There is a color photo of at least 1 bottle from each distillery which I find very useful when going shopping. I also really enjoy seeing the...
Charles MacLean's Whiskypedia is a well written, comprehensive look at the Scotch Whisky industry. The book begins with a short but insightful history of Scotch, followed by a detailed explanation of how to understand a label on a bottle of Scotch. Then he gives you an explanation of the recognized regional differences that make Scotch Whisky so unique.
The meat of the book is the "Gazetter of Distilleries", which takes up the largest portion of the book. Here MacLean shows off his vast knowledge of all things Scotch. Each entry is listed by the name of a Distillery, with a brief history of the brand, a listing of their range of products, information on the plant (stills, washbacks, etc.) how the spirit is matured (bourbon or sherry casks, etc.), and the style of whisky made there. MacLean finishes each listing with his personal tasting notes.
The entries are very inclusive, listing all known distilleries that are currently in operation, those that are now...
While it's fun and fascinating to read the history and technique of the various famous distillers, don't expect much detail between bottlings. For example: you'll read a few pages about the Glenlivet distillery, but not a lot about the (rather significant) differences between a 25 and 12-year-old bottling. It's a good read if you want to get the general sense of a particular malt, but don't expect a comprehensive breakdown between the variants from the same distillery.
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