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Issue 18 - Limited expressions

Whisky Magazine Issue 18
September 2001


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Limited expressions

Neil Wilson casts his eye over some recent reissues of classic whisky books

I was chatting the other day with Charlie MacLean. He had been looking at the publishing of whisky books since 1645 and come up with some remarkable figures. Up until 1970, only 38 titles on whisky had ever been published on whisky but between 1970 and 1990 over 80 new whisky titles were produced.

Even today, the rare antiquarian volumes are extremely hard to find and in some instances, well nigh impossible. In the late 1980s it was still difficult to source more than a dozen or so meaningful, contemporary works on the subject, whereas the market today appears flooded with ‘cut and paste' whisky books many of which have been produced as large full-colour books designed to be printed as foreign languages co-editions to lower costs.

Those old, antiquarian volumes were the real trailblazers for this vast increase in interest and any whisky bibliophile of the late 1980s would be very fortunate indeed to own a classic such as Nettleton's The Manufacture of Spirit as Conducted at the Various Distilleries of the United Kingdom (1898 and 1913). More likely titles would have been The Schweppes Guide to Scotch by Phillip Morrice (1983), The Whisky Roads of Scotland by Derek Cooper and Fay Godwin (1982), the first three editions of The Malt Whisky Almanac by Wallace Milroy (1986-1989), Scotch Whisky by David Daiches (1969), The Whiskies of Scotland by RJS McDowall (1967), a recent updated edition of Scotch by Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart, A Taste of Scotch by Derek Cooper (1989), Mic...

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