Whisky Magazine Issue 83
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Well I am guessing that not many of you know that I have an MA in Scottish Literature. For some an odd degree but for me one of the best aspects was focusing in on the Medieval period. Scotland was tapping into the courtly literature coming out of France, Italy and Spain.
Honestly this is going somewhere whisky related, because at the edge of my study period was the Enlightenment which swept across Europe's thinking classes. This shift fed into the Victorian period where literature and the novel started to develop. The era really of science, progress and romance. The Victorians seemed to delight in noting, detailing, observing, prodding, poking and generally gathering encyclopedic knowledge about the world.
Now the rub of where I was getting to... Barnard. The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom does not feature on any reading lists for his prose, however reading the great man is an incredible insight into the distilling world.
I had wanted to read him for a while but, not having the readies to lavish on a first edition, the lovely people at Birlinn sent me a copy. It was worth waiting for that's for sure.
Part travel journal, part historical record I think it's essential reading now.
That said no one seems to have tried to update it. Misako Udo's book, The Scottish Whisky Distilleries, while invaluable to the whisky connoisseur does not really have that travel or observational element to it. I think the closest thing to it is Mr Morton's Spirit of Adventure. Well ...