Must Read Whisky Books to Start your Collection

Looking to add some whisky books to your shelves? Then maybe we can point you in the right direction. 

Whether you’re trying to expand your knowledge, discover new drams or just want an easy bedtime read, there are a range of fantastic books ready to be explored. 

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular whisky books out there, covering everything from Japanese whisky to taste maps. 

The Way of Whisky – Dave Broom

Though it looks like your typical coffee table book, The Way of Whisky is so much more. This is a stunning exploration of Japanese whisky, that’s part travelogue, part whisky guide. It charts Broom’s journey across the country, taking in visits to distilleries and jotting tasting notes along the way. It’s not all whisky, though, it also gives a great insight into Japanese history and culture, detailing everything from bar culture to pot making. It’s also beautifully produced, accompanied by photos from Kohei Take.

Malt Whisky Companion – Michael Jackson

What would a list of must read whisky books be without the best selling one ever? First written in 1989 by the late great Michael Jackson (not that one), and continually revised since, Malt Whisky Companion is the definitive guide to all things whisky. With advice on buying and collecting, frequently asked questions, and more than 1,000 tasting notes, this is an absolute must have for any whisky lover. The eighth edition, which was updated by Dominic Roskrow and Gavin D. Smith, was released in 2022 and includes new and notable bottlings. 

The World Atlas of Whisky – Dave Broom

Another shout out for the prolific Dave Broom, with this book, The World Atlas of Whisky. While there’s information here on more than 200 distilleries, where this one really stands out is its guide to flavour profiles. With the help of Diageo, Broom has devised six flavour camp charts to help beginners and enthusiasts discover whiskies that match their taste. These are split into different styles such as ‘rich and round’ or ‘malty and dry’ and can help readers discover new favourites or step out of their comfort zone completely. 

Malt Whisky Yearbook – Ingvar Ronde

An annual release, the Malt Whisky Yearbook is a must-have for any whisky professional or hobbyist. First launched in 2006, by Ingvar Ronde, this is a one stop shop for everything that’s going on in the industry. As well as information on distilleries, and of course, tasting notes, it also includes articles from distinguished names. If you want to feel up to date with everything that’s happening in whisky, then this is your go-to.

Raw Spirit – Iain Banks

Perhaps better known for his fiction, Iain Banks takes us on a fascinating journey around Scotland as he searches for the perfect dram. This is not your dry and informative look at scotch; this is a witty and anecdote-filled travelogue that touches on culture, people, and politics – and of course, whisky! Written in 2003 (which will become apparent when you see the meandering monologues on Tony Blair), this is an alternative take on your classic whisky book, but certainly an entertaining one. 

Whiskies Galore – Ian Buxton

Another book that’s as much about the journey as it is the destination. Whiskies Galore sees Ian Buxton explore Island distilleries, taking in Islay, Skye and the Orkneys. What’s great about this book, is that it isn’t just facts and tasting notes, it’s full of asides and opinion. As the author travels up the west coast, we hear his thoughts on everything from Arran to Talisker, but not just on the whisky –  the people, the visitor centres and even a distillery’s standing in the industry all get assessed by Buxton. This is an entertaining read on one of the lesser written about regions of whisky. 

This list is by no means exhaustive, but is a great starting point if you’re looking to learn more about whisky. If you think we’ve missed any out, comment and let us know.

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