There is no shortage of books about whisky. But there is a shortage of whisky books which will satisfy both connoisseurs of the spirit and people who are newcomers to it.
The Pocket Guide to Whisky has lots to offer both sets of drinkers.
It is the result of a collaboration between author Blair Bowman, a whisky consultant and the founder of World Whisky Day, and drinks writer Nikki Welch, creator of the WineTubeMap.
The book’s most striking feature is the WhiskyTubeMap, a stylish new way of representing different whiskies, styles of whiskies, the distilleries that make them and the way they are related.
The map and guide arrange selected whiskies on ‘lines’ according to flavour. Interchange stations, footbridges and ferry lines encourage adventurous drinkers to venture further afield with confidence.
The guide places great Scottish malts alongside blended whisky and whiskies from Japan, Taiwan and Australia. All with flavour notes, suggested food pairings and bar-chat facts.
There are also myth-busting sections, public service announcements about pronunciation, and sometimes humorous tips on how best to enjoy a particular whisky.
This scribbler likes the suggestions for where and when to drink each whisky. For example, bourbon, it is suggested, is best drunk ‘on a blisteringly hot day in an American dive bar with no air conditioning’.
Blair Bowman said, ‘In everything I do, I’m passionate about introducing people to whisky as a whole category. It’s about enjoyment, taste, and exploration, not just of Scotch whisky but of world whiskies too.
‘The Pocket Guide to Whisky is the book that I wish had been around when I started my whisky journey. I hope it demystifies the subject. I’m not precious about malts, blends, brands, or prices. I don’t want people to find these things daunting… The interconnections are fascinating, there’s so much diversity in whisky and something for everyone’s taste.’
The Pocket Guide to Whisky: perfect for Father’s Day
Nikki Welch said, ‘People were telling me that the WineTubeMap gave them the confidence to try something new. I could see a lot of similarities with whisky. It’s a daunting drink for many people, so we wanted to reframe the category in a way that inspired people to explore for themselves…’
The Pocket Guide to Whisky is published by Birlinn (£7.99, paperback).
It was published on the 20th of May to coincide with World Whisky Day. We think it would be perfect for Father’s Day.