Scotch Missed, The lost distilleries of Scotland. 3rd Edition
2000 Brian Townsend – The Angel’s Share Paperback, 204 pages
There are moments in literature where the use of a few simple words can bring the reader to tears, for the whisky lover this book is such a moment. This is not a happy book. It says little of the humour of the distillery workers, it gives only a simple explanation of the whisky making process and it has no suggestions as to what good whisky is made today. It is concise and factual in its historical account of 103 closed and lost distilleries. It is to the point, appropriately illustrated and contains enough background explanation to help the reader understand. Personally I would have liked a bibliography and index but I did like the map reference points when available. Although this book does not aim to broaden the knowledge of how to taste whisky or where to find a good visitor centre and although it is not full of the hopeful confidence of some single distillery books it does have an element that made it stand out in my view. This is a book about the past, about distilleries that have been and gone forever. In as much it strangely becomes both important and relevant to today. Important as it becomes a record of information that would otherwise become as lost as the subject matter. Relevant to today as it serves to illustrate how frail the whisky industry can be. The reader will see names that held history and were well known for quality and held strong in the market place but still were lost. It is a reminder that the world can change and can place pressures upon distilleries that many can not cope with. This book details some distilleries that made stunningly good whisky that will never again be made, will never again be enjoyed. I would suggest this is not only a good book but an important book and I would advise reading it with a dram of ones favourite and imagine that that dram could one day be in such a book. It is such books that should encourage us all to cherish and look after the industry and its variety.