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Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

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Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby Lawrence » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:34 am

The official reprint produced by Ian Buxton arrived today from Royal Mile Whiskies and I only ordered it a few nights ago.

Also included, free, was a copy of WM Issue 58.

I look forward to reading it, has anybody else read it? I have an original copy but have only ever leafed through it. :oops:
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Postby rthomson » Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:00 pm

I haven't yet read it but Ian Buxton does have a nice article about the book in WM #57. I'll be ordering it soon.

You have an original copy? :shock: 8) That's a nice item to have in your library.

Ron
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Postby MGillespie » Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:00 pm

Lawrence, I read the new version as well, and thought it was very interesting. I'm jealous of your first edition, though...I'll have to look for a copy!

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Postby Lawrence » Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:00 pm

There's a copy available from a book seller in California but he wants US$255! :shock:

I think I actually have two copies and only paid about US$30 each but this was several years ago. Hmmm, at those prices each copy equals a bottle of Ardbeg 1977!
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Postby Iain » Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:58 pm

I got my copy (The Porpoise Press, Edinburgh, 1930) in a second hand bookshop in Glasgow for UK£6. I have seen several for sale here over the years, all for under £10.

US$255 seems a bit steep :shock:
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First editions - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby Ian Buxton » Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:42 pm

Hello, and thanks for the positive comments on the new edition of "Whisky" by Aeneas MacDonald. I think this is going to rapidly become more collectable as people understand its significance and appreciate the quality of the book, but the edition to have is definitely the Porpoise Press edition from Edinburgh (1930), with dustjacket.
If anyone sees another one for £10 snap it up, or email me at once!! I will happily take it for that price (or even let you take a wee profit!). 8)
The US edition (Duffield & Green, New York, 1934) is nice but not so valuable or rare. Either way $255 is silly - but it won't seem so silly in a few years time, I reckon.
Canongate have held back the main release of the new edition to October but you can order now online from Royal Mile Whiskies who have stock.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:49 pm

Bought this in Waterstone's last week (for £9.99). Didn't really look like my sort of book, but I thought that I'd give it a try. Am now half way through and really pleasantly surprised. Although written nearly seventy years ago, the author's thoughts - particularly on different types of whisky drinker - are as apt now as back then.

Well done Ian !!!!!!
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Postby Ian Buxton » Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:15 pm

Good man! Thanks for that.
And he plugs single malt about 50 years before anyone else woke up to it!
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Postby Di Blasi » Wed Oct 25, 2006 2:58 am

Wow, I have to get a copy of this!! I should have when I was in Royal Mile Whiskies in September! Looking forward to it!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:37 pm

Now into the "Geography" section and coming across distillary names that mean nothing to me. Must get Alfred Barnard's tome next!
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Rare MacDonald edition

Postby Ian Buxton » Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:49 pm

Just to say that I have tracked down a copy of the very, very rare Henry & Longwell USA edition from 1930 that I am selling on eBay - item # 190046222881

I already have a copy, otherwsie wild horses wouldn't persuade me to part with this one. :lol:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Nov 03, 2006 8:39 pm

Ian


Quite a high E-Bay start price for what is only a single chapter of the book. I appreciate that its rare, but there's also a pretty limited market.
I was tempted though !
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Postby Ian Buxton » Sat Nov 04, 2006 7:10 pm

It's certainly not cheap, but then it is very rare so I'm not going to let it go for a silly price. This book is worth £120+ and, let's face it, how much 75 year old whisky would that buy you? Indeed, it's the price for the average "collectable" bottle these days and at least you can open this, enjoy it and put it back on the shelf knowing it's still worth the money you paid!
There was a copy of this book sold very recently for $255 (see earlier in this string - I tracked it down and then noticed it sold very quickly) and I paid £120 for my copy some while ago (tho' that copy does have a personal inscription from Christopher Morley which pushes up the value). This edition is collected (1) by book collectors (for the 'Briefcase Breviary' Henry & Longwell edition status), (2) for the connection to Christopher Morley (look him up!) and (3) for its iconic whisky status.
Anyone getting this under £100 is onto a bargain that will look cheap in a few years time. It's also a beautifully produced little thing. If you are tempted, don't fight it. You know it makes sense!

Perhaps I'll keep it.....
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 05, 2006 7:13 pm

Ian


Didn't mean to stress you out. An honest question. Many thanks for the background.

I've now finished "Whisky" and loved it. Severely tempted to enter the bidding, but likely to go beyond my max (circa £100) so stayed clear.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 05, 2006 8:23 pm

The "single chapter" version finally went for £155. May the winning bidder enjoy it.
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Postby Ian Buxton » Sun Nov 05, 2006 8:30 pm

No stress - happy to give some more detail and yours was a fair point.
Yes, it did sell very well but it has gone to a very good home (I know the buyer) where it will be loved and cherished.

And all for less than the price of a single nip of Ardbeg 1965.

Happy Ian. 8)
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Postby Lawrence » Mon Nov 06, 2006 6:43 am

I know I'd rather have the book than a nip of Ardbeg 1965..............
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:27 pm

Ditto ....
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:35 am

I've just finished this book. Brilliant and surprisingly relevant to today. Well worth reading folks. :D
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Postby Di Blasi » Sun Dec 10, 2006 4:46 pm

Hoping to get a copy for Christmas, if not, I'll be ordering it soon thereafter. Looking forward to it, glad to hear from so many it's such good reading.
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Postby duckmcf » Tue Dec 12, 2006 9:17 am

Hi Gang,
just letting any Aussies here know that this book has made it out here. I picked up my copy today from Dymocs in Melbourne.

I've only skimmed it so far, but it looks fabulous.....
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby jmrl » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:49 am

Such a good book.

On the map there seems to be no entry for Fettercairn. I wonder why. Perhaps there are others missing. Famedrams condensed edition of Barnard had Benrinnes missing then Phillip Morrices' centenary Distlliries of the UK has the image of Tomintoul reversed.

I should get out more.
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby jmrl » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:28 pm

I forgot to mention the fine bit of detective work detailed at the introduction to the book which uncovered the author's true identity. There, that should seal favour when I place my order for Mr Buxton's Nettleton reprint.
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby Ian Buxton » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:20 pm

Hey, you're totally in favour when you order anything off the Classic Expressions list.

(But it was a neat piece of detective work though, wasn't it?).

Ian 'Miss Marple' Buxton
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby Ian Buxton » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:25 pm

Oh, and I think Fettercairn was silent in 1930 when the book came out which is probably why he missed it.
No web site in those days where you could check!
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby jmrl » Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:43 am

I think Misako missed that one
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby corbuso » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:18 am

jmrl wrote:I forgot to mention the fine bit of detective work detailed at the introduction to the book which uncovered the author's true identity. There, that should seal favour when I place my order for Mr Buxton's Nettleton reprint.

I am also ready to place an order on the Nettleton reprint :-)
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby Ian Buxton » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:36 am

I am also ready to place an order on the Nettleton reprint


You are all very kind!

I just have to get Truths About Whisky done now (long story, sigh). Nearly there though.
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby hollowayd » Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:46 pm

Hello everyone-- great board, and great site. Love reading and participating in most food and drink related posts, especially drinks with such a long and varied history and tradition. If anyone might be interested I'm currently offering the first U.S. edition (Duffield 1934) on eBay for a reasonable price. Book has it's original dustjacket and is a pretty scarce collector's item... it is item #140311509386.

:D
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby Ian Buxton » Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:09 pm

This copy looks very good and well worth the money.

If you notice, a good few posts ago, I predicted that this book was going to go up sharply in value. Well, about a month ago, there was a copy of the single chapter Henry & Longwell edition from 1930 on a rare books site at $450.

It was gone in 24 hours!

You were warned.

:mrgreen:
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby Iain » Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:56 pm

My Porpoise Press edition was also published in 1930. And it has the original dust jacket, although it's a tad stained).

The most interesting thing about the content, imho, is MacDonald's eloquently-expressed contempt for the "the tasteless distillate of grain" and the "insipid charms of the grain-containing blends".
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby Ian Buxton » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:46 pm

He was a prophet (tho' without honour in his own country sadly) that's for sure. And a beautiful writer.

These Porpoise 1st editions are fetching good money now, especially with the lovely original jacket. There was one a few weeks ago on abebooks at about £300 but it's gone now. There is one there now, no d/j and slightly damaged, at £56. And several of the USA 1st edition at £130 and up.

Probably worth snapping the Porpoise one up quickly, even lacking the jacket and slightly damaged - only 1,600 were ever printed. A few years ago you could have found this for a tenner!
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby Iain » Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:18 pm

Ian Buxton wrote:He was a prophet (tho' without honour in his own country sadly) that's for sure.


No doubt there are many today who would call him a "whisky snob" for his championing of single malts over blends. Not me - I reckon the man knew what he was talking about!
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:54 am

Love the book and it is a great read but people need to remember it was from a different era ... prespective has to be taken into account when considering the practices of the time. I can't be sure but was the 3 year rule even in existance then or maybe it was only a guide line and even if it was the law it was fairly slack ....

... back in the day grain whisky could possibly of been used literaly traight from the coffee still and mixed with whiskey to create blends and that is why there was so much anti grain sentiment during those times or silent spirit as it was also known. It was rife in both the Scotch and Irish Whiskey in the late 19th early 20th centurys. A popular con was to use either unaged/little whiskey or grain whiskey and mix with prune juice to psss off as regular whiskey.

So it is understandable the purist stances of certian quarters during that time as also expressed by 'Truths Of Whiskey' a proganda book issued by the Big 4 Dublin Distillers of the era too.
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Re: Whisky - Aeneas MacDonald

Postby Ian Buxton » Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:01 am

The ageing rules were first introduced into law in 1909 and were very strictly policed. In those days (and until recently) there was a Customs & Excise Officer stationed permanently at every distillery and blending/bottling operation to double-check everything.

But it's right to say that everything has to be read in the context of its time. MacDonald (actually a pseudonym for a fervently Scottish writer and journalist called Thomson) was writing during the Depression of the 1920s and early 1930s and he was concerned that a) whisky was in decline and this was a symptom of the wider economic and cultural decline of Scotland and b) that the almost universal presence of blends was killing off a sense of 'real' whisky and thus Scotland.

He was influential in the development of nationalist politics in Scotland. For him, whisky was part of Scotland's national identity and cultural heritage: a profoundly important and almost mystical thing. That is why the book is so poetic and lyrical in parts and continues to be relevant and appealing today.

'Truths About Whisky' is earlier but shares a sympathetic attitude to blending, though the abuses were much worse then and the Irish had other problems also. There was resistance to blending in Scotland but the influence of the Distillers Company (DCL) was so pervasive that these voices were seldom heard.

This string is getting quite intellectual, isn't it? Time for a dram I think.
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