I just bought the book and it is first rate. It benefits, first, by Michael's very good writing for the parts he authored (Irish whiskey, Japanese whisky and some short sections at the beginning of the book). Even the parts he did not author seem to bear his stamp, so probably he edited or added to those sections; the effect is a pleasing unity of tone. Jackson has certain trademarks, e.g., the way he captions photographs, and this book shows he was never better at it. The use of photography is very effective; he was always good at integrating photos and maps in his writing but this is his best effort, I think. There is a great deal of hard information in the book, e.g. the Canadian section is excellent. The Canadian coverage is not as detailed as in 1987's World Guide To Whisky but back then the industry was more crowded and there were more brands. Stuart Ramsay authored this part and the U.S. section. There is the odd miss, e.g., the release by Barton of Ridgemont Reserve (initially called Ridgewood Reserve) is not mentioned. Probably one can put this down to the time lag between the research stage and publication. Also, I would have preferred to see a larger discussion of rye whiskey. Apart from that the U.S. section is very good and is complemented by coverage given to the growing microdistillery segment.
There are interesting chapters on cocktails, food and whisky (excellent work here by Martine Nouet) and a smooth essay on whisky and literature by Jefferson Chase who looked surprisingly young to me in his photo, from his articles in Whisky Magazine I had the impression of a much older person! I noted the comment on this board that only two pages are devoted to blended whisky. I agree with that (and have made a similar comment about rye whiskey), but we must remember the scope of the book: it now extend to the Antipodes, Japan and parts of Europe. There is only so much space...
There are many ways to look at whisky and I admire Jackson's way which combines precision of coverage (see e.g. his detailed description of Irish distillation techniques) with an urbane writing style. The man could write about anything (almost), I am sure, but we are fortunate he has chosen whisky!
A last comment is that the layout seems an updated version of the DK layout in the 1987 World Guide To Whisky. DK published the current book, too, so the design continuity makes sense particularly since Whisky is effectively an update of the 1987 book. I don't know anything about the technics of book design but it must be a complex business and those responsible did another great job on this book. It is like seeing a favourite auto of 20 years ago reissued in a similar but updated style (e.g., the new Mustang GT - Jackson has been called a writer of "muscular" prose so the simile is, perhaps, apposite).
Gary Gillman, Toronto