Dear Thijs - yes I have the book and it is excellent, like every other book Charles has written. Here is a review of David Stirk's book which is great for comparing whiskies:
The Malt Whisky Guide – Making Whisky Fun
Written by: David Stirk
Photography: Graeme and Derek Wallace www.gwpublishing.com
David Stirk’s first book about whisky comes at a time when the world’s love affair with single malt Scotch whisky is at an all time high. Written in a friendly, unpretentious style, “breezy” as Michael Jackson puts it, the book is about malt whisky and how to enjoy it.
The object of the book is to encourage more people to enjoy single malt whisky and to encourage regulars to experiment with new expressions and record their findings.
The books starts off with succinct and informative sections on the history of whisky, how whisky is made, types of whisky, the whisky producing regions and the taste of whisky.
David categorizes readily available malts into seven different styles from light, grassy whiskies to the heavy, peated whiskies. This allows the whisky drinker to compare whiskies of a similar style and to look for others that they like. For example, if you like the more powerful peated whiskies like Ardbeg, then you find other whiskies in this category like Laphroaig and Bowmore. I find this type of classification very useful in describing and categorizing whiskies and for searching out new whiskies with similar characteristics. This method is much more useful than classifying whiskies by region and some of the more complicated means developed recently.
Each malt distillery is listed along with a description of the whisky and David’s’ tasting notes and style classification. Colorful and interesting photography and notes of each distillery and the whisky making process support this. A picture of a bottle together with information accompanies each set of notes on the distillery. Every expression has been colour coded into categories for easy style identification.
Three formats are available: paperback, hardbound or a leather personal organizer that allows for expandability of tasting notes or to compare your notes with the author’s. At the back of each book are several pages to record your findings for a specific favorite at different times or to record the whiskies as you try them over the years. They are also valuable when attending whisky-tasting events. You can order additional loose-leaf blank tasting notes from the website.
I had the honor and pleasure of being the first one to fill in the tasting notes of the book owned by Jock at the Highlander Inn in Craigellachie. I chose The Macallan 18 year old, since Charlie the retired Macallan still man was sitting next to me and he had actually made the stuff (besides it is a top-notch scotch). I thought it would fit into Category F – heavy, rich, fruitcake, oak, and sherried and commented that it was a fine dram shared with fine company in a perfect pub on the side of the Spey.
Each time I review my notes logged in my own book, they bring back fond memories of whisky shared with friends and good times and good drams.
Young David has already made his mark on the whisky world. He is the Sales & Marketing Executive for Cadenhead’s Independent Bottlers and is well know for his articles on whisky and his talks and tastings around the world.
The book is a great aid to the whisky lover and I am sure mine will be referenced and dog-eared in the years to come. The book finds a niche in the whisky book market and is a must for novices and malt enthusiasts alike.
The book is now available at Chapters/Indigo outlets in Canada and will soon be available through independent book stores. You can also find out more about the book or order it from www.gwpublishing.com