Whisky in your Pocket
Wallace Milroy and Neil Wilson – published by Waverley Books 2010 – 192 pages with lots of illustrations and an index – but no glossary.
Lets be clear about this book from the start. It is not an encyclopaedia, it does not cover everything and it is not about whiskies from anywhere other than Scotland – although Bushmills is in there whilst, for some reason St Georges and Pendryn isn’t. It does not have lots of anecdotes and does not advise about what whiskies go with what food or in what cocktail and it does not give scores to the whiskies either.
That is what the book isn’t so what is it?
This book is a simple yet comprehensive portable guide to Scotch. It aims to fit in the pocket and as such is small, thin and yet sturdy enough to handle some rough treatment. The text is well spaced and each whisky has its own entry making it easy to read on the move. The information seems accurate and covers a bit more than the basics and whilst it does not give scores it does give a price guide. There are a few things I am very pleased to see, such as including not only single malts but also single grains, blends, blended malts and blended grains. It includes a section on how whisky is made – which is what one expects from such publications and although this is short it is more than adequate for the nature of the book. I also like the fact that whiskies from mothballed and lost distilleries are included in the book.
What would I like to see different?
I would have liked to see information about distilleries that one can visit, the mothballed and lost whiskies put into a different section rather than at the end of each region (the reason for this being that it makes searching through to find a whisky easier) and maybe some information about whisky stockists. I also wonder if an age statement on the book would help it stand out when it gets updated in the years to follow.
This book is a development of the ‘Malt Whisky Almanac’ which I used to compare it against. This is not entirely fair as I feel that the current form is more of a true pocket guide and quick reference – which it does well. This is a book to carry with you when out looking for or tasting whisky. It has limited its brief but by doing so has enabled itself to include more whisky and does so well. It is not expensive £7.99 and in my view is good value.