by Phillip Hills
This is a great book; it's almost a shame that it's about drink, even if it's as pleasant a drink as malt whisky. Appreciating Whisky takes a fairly literal interpretation of its title: each chapter describes some aspect of whisky or its surrounding culture in order to allow readers to appreciate it more fully. Early chapters contain a suitable amount of technical information about the organic chemistry of whisky and its interpretation by the nose, where "suitable" means interesting to people like me who know nothing about the subject. Similarly, the processes of malting, fermenting, distilling, aging, and mixing are described in some detail. Also covered are techniques for comparative whisky tasting, where the taster attempts to characterize smells found in a particular whisky, often with the help of other whiskies known to contain or not contain that smell.
This is a good book; always interesting and often amusing, even (or especially) when it rambles off of the subject, which is quite often. Also, Hills' credentials are impeccable -- he's not directly affiliated with the whisky industry, and he founded the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Recommended.
copyright © 2002 John Regehr