Malt Whisky Yearbook 2012
edited by Ingvar Ronde, MagDig Media. 298 pages colour illustrations, Contents and Index.
Last year I read the 2011 edition and it blew my mind. This year’s edition? Sadly I had just finished picking up the pieces of my blown mind when the 2012 edition blew it away again.
There is something special about this publication and it is like most good ideas – so simple to see when someone else has it but a true mark of genius that they did. This book follows a simple formula and it is one that works and takes it out of the pack and into the lead.
A lot of guides and/or annual publications have good stuff in them. Some focus on tasting notes and a little opinion. Some focus on distilleries and a little foundation on how whisky is made. Some give scores and tables. This book does all this and so much more. Yes the formula is basically the same as last years but that doesn’t matter because the content is so different.
So what is the formula and what is different. The formula is to break up the book into sections that look at – articles written by leading writers. Details of distilleries in Scotland and Ireland and also from around the world. New bottlings, tables and statistics and a review of the year. Mixed in with this are interviews with distilleries a look at websites, books and magazines and a whisky history. And there is even more.
So what makes it different from last year – The obvious is that it is updated – new releases – a different year to review etc, but just as important is the interviews are with different managers with different views and stories. The biggest things for me are the articles at the front. Here is a selection written by great experts about a variety of subjects – together they provide contemporary commentary as well as historic reflection.
If you are new to whisky this will give a great introduction. If you are a whisky buyer then this will help with tasting notes and whisky/distillery information. If you are a whisky geek or in the trade then the business side is here – who owns what, company performances, annual stats – there is something for everyone and yet it manages this without becoming weak or shallow.
One thing that stood out for me was Colin Dunn’s contribution concerning the emotional side of whisky drinking which is followed by a selection of emotional tasting notes. Emotional tasting is something I have often championed myself and it was great to see it here – along with the info about Blend and Irish whiskeys.On top of all this it is easy to read, easy to reference and beautifully illustrated.