Whisky Dream – waking a giant
Stuart Rivans, 2008, Birlinn Limited, 214 pages. No reference or glossary.
This book may lack a reference section and a glossary but it does have 4 appendices, one of which is a neat ‘how to taste’ section. It also has a bibliography. This book contains some very good illustrations, most in colour and some historical.
I think it is fair to say that most whisky lovers have that moment when they desire their own distillery. This book raises that desire a hundredfold. Their have been less than a handful of books that have had that effect on me – most leave me wanting a dram but this one makes me want to gather a band of investors and start distilling. This is a book to read a bit of then dream a while then read more.
It is the progressive story of inspiration, vision and realisation as experienced by a gathered band of masters coming together and breathing life into a distillery that had slept for seven years. It is the stress of finding £4 million pounds in 4 minutes, of renovating old machinery, of finding identity and seeking a future in an industry that has a delay of years between production and sale.
There is humour and tradition as well as excitement and it is woven around a plethora of facts to satisfy the hungriest geek. The story itself is told from the point of different members of the team from the initial idea through to the formation of the academy and the plans for the future. It also includes the famous stories of the WMD (whisky of mass distinction) and the yellow submarine – The distillery is Briuchladdich and, whilst the book tends to blow its own trumpet a bit, it is a trumpet worth blowing.