Whiskey: Instant Expert by John Lamond #ScotchSunday Review

When one is starting out exploring the world of whiskey one inevitably turns to authors like Michael Jackson, Charles MacLean, Dave Broom, Robin Tucek.
Of course, any list of whisky experts is incomplete without Master of Malt John Lamond.


While the internet, smart phones and being connected 24/7 makes navigating the whiskey world easier, there is still nothing like the experience of reading a real book. This is where Lamond’s book, Whiskey, published under Princeton Architectural Press’ “Instant Expert” series is a terrific addition (represented in Canada by Raincoast Books).

Whiskey: Instant Expert
fits in the palm of your hand

Measuring 4.71″ x 6.61″ and at 144 pages, Whiskey: Instant Expert fits into the palm of one’s hand but it isn’t meant to be an exhaustive database of whiskeys and reviews available around the world — there are simply too many combinations and expressions. However, it provides insight for those looking to learn a lot quickly, from the very basic to the esoteric:

Whisky vs. whiskey
Scotch whisky is spelled “whisky” and must be from Scotland to be called scotch. With Irish whiskey –which has had perhaps an even longer history– the word is spelled “whiskey.”

Traditional partners for whiskey
…found in the west coast of Scotland where the fisherman would traditionally have a dram of malt whiskey with their oysters — not to the side but poured on the shell like we do today with Tobasco.

Ardbeg distillery
Ardbeg’s make is the most heavily peated of all Scotland’s whiskies, at 50 parts per million. Its make has always been a favourite of Islay aficionados, but it was closed more often than it was open in the 30 years prior to being taken over by Glenmorangie in 1997.

Glenmorangie distillery
One of the leading malts around the world, it has the tallest stills in Scotland, at just under 17 feet. The height of the still means that only the finest and most delicate of flavours fall over the lyne arm, which runs from the head of the still to the condenser.

Scotch and Irish whiskies
The malt for Scotch whiskey is dried over an open peat fire, which means the smoke permeates the grains and this smoky taste carries right through to the final whisky. By contrast, in Ireland, the malt is dried in closed kilns so that only hot air dries the grains, not smoke.

The citations above are a sampling of what the book contains. The contents range from the fundamentals to colourful stories about discovering, collecting and storing.


Contents of Whiskey: Instant Expert by John Lamond


If there is anything that could be improved it is the indexing: some of pages numbers (in the index) didn’t seem to match. Whiskey: Instant Expert makes a nice gift for a budding Malt Master this holiday season and retails for $14.40 from Amazon.ca

Level: Beginner to Expert
Writing Style: 4.5 / 5
Reviews: 3.5 / 5
Value: Very High
Sukasa Stars: 4.5 out of 5

(Reviewed by Arijit Banik for SukasaStyle)