Whiskey and Philosophy, a small batch of spirited ideas.
2010. Edited by Fritz Allhoff and Marcus P Adams. John Wiley and Sons.
366 pages including index, tasting notes, contributors biographies, cocktail recipes and references. No illustrations.
If you are serious about whisky and want to look beyond distillery information, history and tasting notes. If you are interested in deeper understanding of society and self. If you want to be presented with the spark of alternative and open thinking that could start you on a road of purposeful contemplation – look no further for here is the book for you, a book for the serious drinker and the serious thinker.
Written by a wide range of experts, each with their own style and approach, this book is going to challenge your perceptions.
It is carefully divided into 5 main sections, each one containing a number of chapters and each chapter by a different author. Yes there is history and humour but there is so much more. Philosophy is in the title not as a token gesture but as an indication that philosophical thought and application is made to a range of philosophical schools of thought. By understanding broader aspects of whisky, whether that is the dilemmas of whisky tasters or the gender issues of whisky and women, one can gain a deeper understanding of whisky itself – but also how we relate to it – the roles it fills in society and ourselves. We are in a position of self development as much as we are understanding whisky.
If you want marketing veneer then do not look here – this can contain blunt and open honesty, both on an industry and personal level. If you want some funny stories about what happened in distilleries in the old times then do not look here – this contains contemporary dynamic – it is as up to date in as much as it pushes you into considering how you see whisky, and that is pretty here and now. If you want a series of tasting notes and personal opinions about individual whiskies then do not look here – This will give you facts and theories, it will give story and anecdote but it is more about starting a journey rather than giving you the answers.
Be prepared to disagree with it in parts, be prepared for it to open issues that you hadn’t thought about before. Do approach the book with a dram, they recommend that you do, but make sure you give plenty of time. This is not one to pick up and read in one go. You need time to read, put down and consider, re read and think again – not because it is hard to understand but because it is worth spending time over.
There are whiskies that are well balanced but are still complex, you have to nose it a few times, hold it on the palate and explore it and savour the long finish it has before returning to it for the second taste which brings out even more. That is what this book is like – a well balanced and complex fine whisky – sorry I meant whiskEy, they explain the difference at the beginning of the book.