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Michael Jackson's malt whisky guide

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Michael Jackson's malt whisky guide

Postby Gate » Wed Aug 27, 2003 4:20 pm

Time for a new edition, surely? Or even better, how about one where Jacko's score for each whisky is shadowed by one from Dave Broom - then you'd be talking Whisky Bible.
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Postby Yury Plyasov » Wed Oct 08, 2003 9:19 am

I have the second edition and four edition of this book. The Second Edition is the thin book, The Four Edition has a pages much more. The New Edition must include no less then 1000 pages.
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Michael Jackson's book

Postby Lawrence » Wed Oct 08, 2003 10:09 pm

I've heard a new edtion is to be released this month.
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Postby Lawrence » Sun Nov 02, 2003 7:42 pm

A book store told me on friday that the publication date has been delayed until February 2004.
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Postby Hendriks » Tue Nov 18, 2003 7:30 pm

It's out now. Just like edition 4 but with new tasting notes for new released whiskies and rare ones, but most of the book is exactly the same.

Dennis
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Michael Jackson's book

Postby Lawrence » Wed Nov 19, 2003 3:41 pm

Great, thanks for the info, I suspect it will be a few months before it's avaialble in Canada, do you have the ISBN number handy?
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Postby Hendriks » Thu Nov 27, 2003 11:52 am

Sorry ,it's just an updated version, the complete new book is due beginning 2004. :oops:
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MALT WHISKY COMPANION - 2004 EDITION

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Jan 01, 2004 2:31 pm

According to Ottakers, the expected publication date is 5th February 2004. The ISBN is 1405302348
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Postby si_peacock » Thu Jan 29, 2004 2:41 pm

Went into Waterstones to pre-order it. Apparantly it has been delayed and will publish in March / April-ish
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Postby Lawrence » Thu Jan 29, 2004 10:52 pm

:evil: In Canada I've been told the expected delivery date is now October 2004!
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Postby Eightball » Wed May 05, 2004 4:00 pm

I have the fourth edition and treat it like a bible. If a fifth edition comes out I'll be so... :D
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Postby Lawrence » Fri Jun 04, 2004 3:39 pm

I picked up the fifth edition last week, I have not had a chance to go thru it completely but it covers a thousand whiskies and has more info, a bigger better version.
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Fifth Edition

Postby Eightball » Fri Jun 04, 2004 4:59 pm

Thanks for the info on the fifth edition. I'll be going to a bookstore in the states tonight. I'll definately want to buy it.
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Postby lucabeer » Fri Jun 18, 2004 12:08 pm

I bought the fifth edition myself, and it's a nice book.

I already found an error (Ardbeg 10 listed as 40% ABV), and one big disappointment.

MJ only reviewed the "name" Bowmores... No tasting notes for the "age statement" bottlings!!!!! How come this unbelievable absence?
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Postby Lawrence » Fri Jun 18, 2004 3:43 pm

That's curious about the Bowmore 12, 15, 17, 25 ect not being reveiwed, he goes on and on for 7 pages about the Bruichladdich.
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Postby BruceCrichton » Wed Jun 23, 2004 1:00 pm

I've noticed that a few whiskies have improved in recent years like Glengoyne , Tomintoul 10 yr and Speyburn 10 yr but this isn't reflected in the book.

To be fair, maybe Mr Jackson didn't think they had or maybe the improvements, in the case of Speyburn, came very recently and after this edition was published.

I still can believe Glenlivet 12 yr old gets such a high score. Some whiskies, you might not like them, have a cult following like Laphroaig and all the peat monsters but I don't see how Glenlivet can have a following like that.

When reviewing a common or garden whisky, does Mr Jackson re-taste them all freshly? I just wondered.
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Postby Admiral » Thu Jun 24, 2004 10:54 pm

That's a good question Bruce, and I wonder it myself.

I have owned this book for half a day now, and I've really only flicked through it.

However, something that stood out to me very quickly was that the listing, description and score for the Lagavulin Distillers Edition remained unchanged since the 4th edition, i.e. we are talking about a 1979 DE Lagavulin.

What about the 1980, 1981, or the more recent 1984, '85, and '86 bottlings of the Distillers Edition? (I think there's even been a 1987 released).

Why bother listing a vintage which has been unavailable now for at least four years, and ignore all the later vintages? Hardly helpful, or accurate.

I'm also curious, if not a little annoyed that the age statement Bowmores are omitted. Surely a printing error? And where is the Bowmore Darkest?

And anyone who knew nothing about whisky but picked this book up for the first time would conclude that Macallan are virtually incapable of making a whisky that scores less than 90.

No doubt more issues will be worth posting and discussing once we've had a chance to digest this edition further.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Admiral » Sat Jun 26, 2004 1:43 pm

Having flicked through the book a little more, I have noticed more and more entries that remain unchanged since the last edition, i.e. tasting notes & score are word for word the same.

I am thrilled that so many new entries have found their way into this book, but it is disappointing that so many have seemingly not been updated.

The decline of The Macallan has been very well documented and discussed on these forum pages, as well as on countless others, and certainly amongst my colleagues in various malt appreciation clubs. For the tasting notes under The Macallan to remain unchanged (and particularly the scores) suggests that either MJ did not re-visit these malts, or he ain't being honest.

This is in stark contrast to Jim Murray's Bible, where it is very clear to JM that many of the whiskies change from year to year, and warrant different scores each year.

It is also a little unusual that quite a few entries have remained for malts that are well and truly "out of print". Was this just to boost the number of malts reviewed in the book?

I'm sorry if I sound a little harsh or critical. It's just that I found the 4th edition such a fantastic book and a valuable reference, perhaps I was hoping for more out of the 5th edition.

And Jim Murray has probably moved the goalposts a little by presenting us with a fantastic publication that deliberately set out to review all the malts currently available.

Admiral

[/b]
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Jun 26, 2004 6:46 pm

Admiral, I agree with you that single malts from Scotland are not a static product, they do change from year to year (or a longer cycle?). We have discussed this in this forum as some have improved, for example the Strathisla 12. The Macallan 12 has very definitley lost some of it's luster over the last few years and people are beginning to comment on the Bowmore 12 being more floral. The Aberlour 10 has improved over the last 10 years, the list goes on and on of ups and downs. For MJ to miss this is quite something.

The interesting thing about this forum is that we're spread all over the world and for such a diverse group to comment on changes cannot be ignored. I've only had MJ's 5th edition for a while so I have not had a chance to go thru it completely but I think everybody is onto something.
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Postby Admiral » Wed Jun 30, 2004 4:30 am

Well, everybody except Mr Jackson, it seems! :wink:

Admiral
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Postby BruceCrichton » Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:26 pm

It's still a good book to read and my favourite book for information but missing out all those Bowmores is very irritating :twisted:
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Postby Admiral » Thu Jul 01, 2004 12:32 pm

Has anyone chased up with the publishers yet to find out if it was an accidental printing error?
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Postby clayton jr » Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:42 pm

The 5th edition in the US isn't due to be released until August 2, 2004. Maybe this new version will include some of the requested updates mentioned in this thread.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0762413131/
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Jul 03, 2004 2:24 am

Clayton, we are talking about the 5th edition. It's curious that MJ would drop most of the Bowmore line up and not re-taste some malts. If he needs some help all he has to do is ask, I'm sure I can be available :D
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Missing Bowmores

Postby MikeRogers » Thu Aug 26, 2004 5:26 pm

I contacted the publishers and they said: "Although the 5th dition was 112 pages longer, we were still not able to include all of the malt whiskies tasted since the last edition. In all, 1500 were tasted, but only about 1000 were included in the book. It is unfortunate that we were not able to put in notes on some Bowmores with age statements, but we will certainly look at reintroducing them in the 6th edition."

I'd have been happy to lose some of the Macallans in exchange for the Bowmores.
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Postby Admiral » Tue Aug 31, 2004 4:08 am

I find it a bit pathetic that new or at least still available bottlings of Bowmore were left out of the book, whilst entries remained for bottlings that have long since disappeared.

I cannot help feel that this book was rushed through too quickly without enough thought & effort going into it.

It is full of inconsistencies - for example, on one page MJ explains that there are around 100 distilleries in Scotland, of which around 80 are operational. Just a few pages later, he says exactly the same thing, but advises that two-thirds are operational. 80 versus 66?

Nothing too dramatic in the scheme of things, but perhaps evidence that things were put together piecemeal and with little coordination.

Admiral
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Postby Admiral » Tue Aug 31, 2004 4:19 am

:x And another thing......

After several (separate) conversations with many knowledgable malt drinkers, we all agreed that many "special" bottlings have deteriorated enormously.

The Glenmorangie standard wood finishes (Sherry, Madeira, and Port), together with the Bowmore "Darkest" are four good examples.

These whiskies were no doubt very good when they were first launched. They quickly made a name for themselves and established a reputation as being top shelf, high-scoring malts. (This was about the time MJ's 4th edition came out!).

However, it is clear to everyone that the malts are spending less time in the finishing cask; that the quality of the casks has gone downhill (particularly for the Bowmore Darkest), and the whiskies are DEFINITELY not the same quality as they were when they were first launched.

It annoys me considerably that the 5th edition retains the scores (and hence maintains their reputations) from 4 or 5 years ago because clearly MJ did not bother to re-vist these and taste current samples.

Grumble.....
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Postby bond » Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:07 am

I find it pretty strange that these special finishes are of inferior quality. One would have expected these whiskies to cater to the knowledgable drinker... However, most of these are half "baked" products meant to be lapped up only by new-found enthusiasts eager to add to one's malt log register.

The Glenmorangie cask strength too is a bit of a disaster lacking any of the firmness and complexity one would associate with a non chill-filtered, cask strength whisky. In this case though, the sham extends to the packaging too ( a la J W Blue)

Do most participants on this forum have a bias towards any particular writer i.e. do we have favourites there too? Jim Murray v/s Michael Jackson / Dave Broom??
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Postby Admiral » Tue Aug 31, 2004 12:09 pm

There have actually been a few threads dedicated to our preferences for the whisky writers. They weren't that long ago, so I'm sure you can find them in the archives.

I confess that MJ was my preferred whisky scribe, but this 5th Edition has really damaged & tarnished my opinion and the esteem I held him in.

Admiral
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Tue Aug 31, 2004 2:59 pm

Interesting couple of threads running about books with posts for and against the Ian Banks book and mostly against the latest edition of Michael jackson's book.

Personally I prefer books which tell you more about the personalities, for instance I am currently reading < But always fine bourbon > Sally Van Winkle Campbell's excellent book about her grandfather Pappy Van Winkle ( and also about her father Julian Senior and her brother Julian ). so I don't find the Bank's book at all bad,, even though a lot of postings would clearly prefer to read less about IB and more about whisky!

As for the MJ book, well a couple of people seem to be getting pretty emotional about what's in and what's not. I guess that any book which contained tasting notes on every expression of every malt would be pretty expensive to produce. And I also guess that for most people, especially those who are not hardcore whisky enthusiasts, it is MJ's name that they would recognise as the whisky expert.

And as for more tasting notes, well fortunately this very website has quite a few, including the latest expressions. The Bowmore, for which MJ's book has been specifically criticised for not including later expressions, is the subject of tastings by various combinations of MJ, Jim Murray, Dave Broom and Gavin Smith for no less than 17 expressions, including the 12, the 15 and the Darkest., in issues of WM ranging from number 5 to number 39.

So if in doubt, check WM!

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Admiral » Wed Sep 01, 2004 4:31 am

I take your point, Rudolph, but this is the book that gets recommended to drinkers - particularly newcomers - as THE reference for malts.

The very premise of the book is that if you're interested in a particular bottling, you can check out the details and read the tasting notes.

Failing to update so many entries is a bit like selling a book offering financial advice for the stockmarket and recommending companies that have since gone under!

Admiral
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:15 pm

Agreed, Admiral, if you are setting yourself up as the definitive source of information about anything, you certainly ought to ensure that the information is accurate, comprehensive and up -to - date.

I speak as one who has in the past published a monthly directory
which contained 10,000 listings of which on average over 3,000 had to be amended in some way each month.

But the key point is what the publishers of MJ's book claim for it.
Do they say it is comprehensive, accurate and up to date? Do they say that you will find tasting notes for every bottling? Do they say that there is no better source of information about malts?


Since I have not seen the book, or any publicity for it, I don't know the answers, but if they do not make similiar claims for MJ's book, then anyone thinking of buying it should recognise that what they are getting is not the definitive source of information about malts.

As a potential buyer, you would then have to decide on the infomation you have about the contents as to whether it will still be worth buying,

Cheers

Rudolph
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The Definitive Guide?

Postby MikeRogers » Tue Sep 07, 2004 5:45 pm

I haven't seen what advertising the publishers have produced, but on the back of the book it describes it as "this new edition of the definitive guide to malt whiskies by Michael Jackson".

Over the years it has gained such a reputation that purchasers would expect to find most of the readily available bottings included.

My complaint was that so many pages had been used for the very limited edition Macallans which even if available I would have thought that few could afford. I can see an argument that says that readers can at least read about them even if they'll never get to drink them, but to lose the Bowmores is in my view too high a price to pay. After all there was a seperate booklet, which I think WM subscribers received for free, which gave tasting notes on these rare Macallans.
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Postby Admiral » Thu Sep 09, 2004 4:26 am

We will never know, of course, but MJ has been a champion of Macallan for many, many years, and I suspect he and the distillery have some sort of agreement whereby he talks up their product and gives them publicity, and they offer something in return. (Money? Free bottlings? )

I don't say that in a cynical or nasty way.....the media and journalists have worked that way for years.

But it might also explain why Macallan also gets a separate section and mention in the book where MJ talks about the use of sherry casks for maturation, etc.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:25 pm

You could well be right, Admiral, and as you say you are not being derogatory.

But surely MJ's standing is so strong and his reputation so solid that any of the producers would happily provide him with all the bottles he needs, in return for his endorsement, either overt or covert?

Perhaps the Mac just happens to be MJ's favourite whisky, and that is why he writes about it more than others!

Cheers

Rupert
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