If you're looking to learn more about whisky, here are seven top whiskey books and whiskey websites that will have you more knowledgeable than 90% of your friends.
If you want to learn about whiskey, the information below will point you in the right direction. We begin with 7 Whiskey Books. A few are perfect for beginners who are looking to get their head wrapped around all things whiskey. Like, is it whiskey or whisky, without the ‘e’? How is whiskey made? How to taste whiskey. Should I add ice or water to my whiskey?
Others are geared for true whisky connoisseurs who are looking to expand their knowledge or looking for a Whisky Journal. You could also use ANY of these 7 books to set next to your growing whiskey collection.
Then we’ve listed 7 Websites that are worthy of browsing if whiskey is an interest of yours. We did not select based on traffic volume (although a couple would make a top 10 list) or by how sleek the sites were. There are a lot of new quality sites pouring into this beautiful thing we call the world wide web. These are simply 7 of our favorites.
1. 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die
Author: Ian Buxton
To be clear- this is not an awards list. It’s not the “101 most expensive or rarest whiskeies in the world”. It’s not even a “best tasting whiskies in all the world compilation” by some self-proclaimed whiskey guru journalist. It is simply an adventurous checklist of fabulous whiskys to try by one of the world’s leading whiskey experts, Ian Buxton.
From old favorites to new up-and-comers in the latest whiskey boom, 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die is a guide to drink, not collect. Each whiskey profile begins with information on availability and price range, followed by a well-written 3-5 paragraph summary on the history of the distillery and interesting facts. Then concludes with a short description of the color, nose, taste, and finish. All this comes together to form just the right amount of information to make each tasting a more enlightening experience. After all, who wants to read an entire discourse before every drink?
What You’ll Love About It- There are no scores! This leaves a clean slate for YOU to score each one.
2. Bourbon Empire
Author: Reid Mitenbuler
Tracing the big names in American whiskey like Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, and Evan Williams, author Reid Mitenbuler reaches all the way back to the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 to tell the fascinating story of the handful of giants that built America’s Whiskey industry. With all the creativity within the industry right now the political maneuvering, connections to organized crime and colorful history of the early entrepreneurs makes for a captivating evening read.
“Pulls aside the curtain of puffery to show . . . the business of liquor to be every bit as fascinating as the fictions in which the distillers love to swaddle themselves.” —Wayne Curtis, The Wall Street Journal
What You’ll Love About It: Being able to recall some really cool historical facts that Mitenburg has unearthed the next time you’re sharing a drink with an old friend.
3. World Whiskey
Bounded by hand in genuine leather, this gorgeous nation-by-nation whiskey bible makes for a perfect accessory to sit next to your finest bottle of whiskey. Hell, it even looks stellar on a desk or coffee table. Ok, it really looks good just about anywhere. What’s more is it’s jam packed with tasting notes, information on factors that contribute to each variety’s unique flavor, insights into the operation and secrets of distilleries, whiskey tour maps to use when traveling, tons of pictures and much more.
What You’ll Love About It- The personalized leather cover with your name or initials on it.
4. The Way Of Whisky
Author: Dave Broom
Last year a bottle of Yamazaki 50 sold at auction for $300,000 and became the most expensive bottle of Japanese Whisky ever sold. And with a rapidly growing rise in demand and a looming shortage in Japanese Whisky (as expertly highlighted in Robb Report), it’s unlikely that record will stand long.
For connoisseurs who want to broaden their expertise within the whiskey industry, the thriving Japanese whiskey niche market has become a popular choice. And this is the must read book you buy when pursuing an acquaintance with the traditions and practices of Japanese Whisky.
If you’re just beginning your journey into the world of whisky, the terminology can be a bit difficult to follow. But that may be just what you need if you’re serious about learning more.
What You’ll Love About It- The bar life of the various cities and towns as well as the Japanese whisky pioneers’ relentless attention to detail. If you love studying different cultures, you’ll love every page.
5. The World Atlas Of Whisky
Author: Dave Broom
Award winning author Dave Broom has been writing about whisky for more than 20 years. He is editor of the Scotch Whisky Review, editor of Whisky Magazine: Japan, consultant editor to Whisky Magazine, writes for a number of other related publications, is a consultant to major distillers, and regularly appears on television and radio regarding the topic.
Which is why The World Atlas of Whisky is an essential for discerning drinkers. Lots of great information, but make no mistake about it, this is not a comprehensive in-depth analysis of the process or producers. There are other books for that. This is for fun. Put it like this- this is the book you put on your bar table and your guest spends 20 minutes happily turning the pages while sipping their second and third drink. Then ask you if you happen to have one of the whiskys in the book. If you do, that’ll be the fourth.
What You’ll Love About It: The pictures. Also, considering Scotland is the birthplace of scotch, a considerable amount of the book is devoted to the beautiful motherland.
6. Field Guide To Whisky
Author: Hans Offringa
A handsome hardcover filled with pretty much everything you would need to know about your favorite drink, A Field Guide To Whisky is perfect for any avid whisky drinker, regardless of your preferences. Seems like everything you could want to know is in this book. Beyond all the critical information like how whisky gets its flavor, production methods, and consumption tips is an endless amount of goodies like quotes, info on whisky trails, whisky festivals, and even great whisky bars.
It’s important to note that very few whisky book authors come with the credentials that Hans Offringa has. He holds many esteemed titles in the whisky world including: Patron of the Whisky Festival Northern Netherlands, Honorary Scotsman, Honorary Member of the Caledonian Society of Charleston (SC), Keeper of the Quaich, and Kentucky Colonel. He is also the contributing editor for Europe Whisky Magazine, and one of the lecturers at the International Whisky School in Groningen, Netherlands.
What You’ll Love About It: The over 300 short entries. Read a few over a drink before going on.
7. Whisky: The Connoisseurs Journal
Author: La Maison du Whisky
If you already have more than a couple bottles of some good whisky and would like to increase your collection, Whiskey: The Connoisseur’s Journal is worth the investment. Not only does it add an element of legitimacy, but I think it also inspires you in your quest to build an exceptional inventory.
Divided into five sections, it has all the components of an ideal connoisseur’s journal. Useful tips for novice imbibers, a timeline and history of the libation, journal pages for personal reviews, and a comprehensive list of the world’s finest whiskies. The expansive history and practical guidelines serve as a perfect opener to the 100-page logbook. Collectors will learn how to choose a whisky based on taste and aromatic composition, regional specificity, or place of origin—including options from emerging producers such as Japan, India, Sweden, and Taiwan.
What You’ll Love About It: Taking a break from logging via a computer or smart phone and recording details with a fine pen in your own Whisky Journal. Record whisky’s age, proof, origin, and barrel type, along with personal comments, reviews, and tasting experience. Check out our “Why Every Gentleman Should Have A Fine Pen” for some luxury pen ideas to compliment your journal.
TOP WHISKEY WEBSITES
About: The second best thing about Whiskey For Everyone is their blogs Weeks Weekly Whisky News. A nice usually three or four pieces of news highlights. Oh, what’s first you’re wondering? Well that it’s whiskey for everyone, of course. Meaning it’s geared for beginners, keen enthusiast and connoisseurs. Husband and wife team Matt Chamber and Karen Taylor started the blog in 2008 as they were just beginners. Now they are regulars on the London whisky scene. So they understand the growth process of an individual’s journey into whisky. Which is probably why they have a ton of really good info for beginners. I definetely recommend checking out this site out if you’re a beginner.
Our Favorite Post: It’s always their last This Week’s Whiskey News.
About: Written by whisky enthusiast Thijs Klaverstijn who def has the credentials to be writing a whisky blog, Words Of Whisky is a great resource for discovering tasting notes. This site has no bells and whistles like info on all the distilleries or latest news releases. Almost entirely, tasting notes. Which is awesome! Sometimes just sticking to one niche, and doing it well is the key. And Words Of Whisky does tasting notes as good as anyone.
In case you’re wondering what are Klaverstijn’s credentials: Writes for Scotchwhisky.com and Whiskey Passion (the most influential whisky magazine in the Netherlands), writes tasting notes and articles for Distiller.com, has contributed to Irish Whisky Magazine, Whisky & Spirits, and Gin Magazine. And finally, not only does he judge for the World Drink Awards, but he also is an Accredited Liquorist. So yeah, not bad credentials.
Our Favorite Post: Review: Game of Thrones Single Malts
About: The Whiskey Wash has become one of the leading online sources for the latest news in the world of whiskey. Founder and Editor-In-Chief Nino Marchetti mantains a large private collection and often uses it as well as his experience as an expert and judge to discern what’s actually news worthy. And with the information boom in the industry due to the surging interest, it’s no easy task. Quickly approaching almost 200,000 visitors a month, I’d say alot of people appreciate Marchetti’s ability to provide high quality whiskey news.
About: One of the top online whiskey retailers, Master Of Malt can be easily passed over as just that. But I think that sometimes people miss out or are unaware of all the other MoM features. Like how it’s a great place to buy incredible whiskey accessories such as whiskey glasses, barware, mixers, even whisky barrels! But more important to this article, is their blog. Not quite as in-depth as some of the others on this list, but it’s quality and easy to read.
Our Favorite Post: Despite Everything, American Whiskey is Booming in Britain.
About: Whiskey Consensus has a very clean, minimalist site created by Matthew Evans . It’s easy to maneuver and read. They have a fair amount of reviews, but a little light on articles. However, what they do cover – is really good! It’s kind of like hearing a really good new artist that only has a few songs. You’re like “Hurry up already! Produce some more!”
Btw, they have a strong Instagram following (27,600 followers) if you enjoy whiskey photos.
Our Favorite Post: Van Winkle Bourbon 2020 Annual Release
About: There’s a lot to love about ScotchWhisky.com. My absolute favorite feature is not the Whiskypedia, a comprehensive reference guide nor the Event Calendar highlighting whisky events from all four corners of the earth. And it’s not the Themed Tasting, which I do love. But it’s not my absolute favorite. My absolute favorite feature on ScotchWhiskey.com are the interviews with the movers and shakers inside the whisky industry. These aren’t your general couple paragraph interview either. These are really good interviews worth checking out.
About: An international staff of seven led by Kentuckian Richard Thomas covers reviews, receipes, and even distillery touring. Having such a diverse staff from all over seems to result in a wide range of good material.
Our Favorite Post: Underrated: The Glenlivet 12 Year Old