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10 Books about Whisky you should have in your library

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August 25, 2022

Great books where you can learn about whisky tradition and more

When it comes to whisky, books could be pretty resourceful. Whether you want to learn more about whisky history, anecdotes or how to make your own tasting notes, we assure you will find a book for everything and beyond. Perhaps there are also too many books. And too much choice means that we are usually in doubt about where to start. For this reason, the MNIW team has selected for you the 10 books you absolutely must have in your library (especially if you are new to the whisky world!). You only have to take a book in one hand, a glass of whisky in the other, and relax!

General Books about the art of Whisky 

These books are like handbooks that you can flip through in your leisure time. Possibly with a glass of whisky on the side. 

The Complete Whiskey Course by Robin Robinson

This is definitely a must-read for aspiring connoisseurs. Also, it is an in-depth refresher for more experienced whiskey lovers. ‘The Complete Whiskey Course by Robin Robinson’ is the definitive book for understanding and appreciating the world of whisky.

The book is designed to take readers on a global tour of the world of whisky. Through ten ‘classes’, Robinson talks about the history of whisky, how whisky is made in different countries and regions, the myriad of styles, how ageing and finishing work, and the basics of nosing and tasting whisky.

Each page is a whisky journey, with recommended bottles and styles and information on how distilleries produce their unique products. Each chapter includes themed tastings organised by different categories and useful tips on how to conduct your own tasting with food pairing. In short, the whole world of whisky is bound within these pages!

Everything You Need to Know About Whisky: (But are too afraid to ask) Nick Morgan

What makes Scotch whisky perfect? How do experts drink whisky? Are you curious about the most scandalous stories from distilleries around the world? This book has all the answers you’re looking for (even answers to questions you’ve ever wondered about!).

And there is more. This guide is packed with tips on how to find your new favourite bottle and make the best whisky cocktails. An enjoyable read for all whisky enthusiasts, beginners and experts alike.

My Name Is Whisky – A Sky Full of Stars

OK, maybe we are biased on this book. But let us tell you why you will definitely want to have it in your library.

My Name Is Whisky – A Sky Full of Stars is a tale of the lives of the men who innovated and carried on the tradition of whisky.  In the book, the masters of Scotch whisky tell their stories through interviews, where they trace their journey through the world of whisky from the beginning.

The volume also contains 640 exclusive photos illustrating the rarest whiskies belonging to private collections. This is a unique opportunity to peek through the shelves of other whisky lovers, appreciate the splendour of the art of whisky, and immerse yourself in a tradition that has been going on for over 500 years. 

Everything you need to know about Tasting Notes

Are you fascinated by the world of tasting notes? Then these books could be for you!

Iconic Whisky

With 1,000 whiskies listed from all over the world, this exceptional and unique guide is a must for whisky connoisseurs.

‘Iconic Whisky: Tasting Notes and Flavour Charts for 1,000 of the World’s Best Whiskies’, by Cyrille Mald and Alexandre Vingtier, provides a visual categorisation of the main aromas divided per nose, body, finish and strength. Moreover, the authors as well as additional tasting notes based on the aroma wheel uniquely designed by the authors.

In addition, the book contains a flavour wheel designed in an original way by the authors. In the book, you will also find maps illustrating the geographical areas of production, and information on the nature and origins of whiskies from around the world.

The book then expands on other topics, making it a comprehensive guide. The authors talk about the various stages of the production process, types of grain (and how these affect flavour), casks (size and history), and glasses.

Whisky Classified: choosing single malts by flavour

This book by David Wishart revolutionises the way one appreciates single malt whiskies. Are you familiar with the often confusing jargon used to describe a single malt? Well, thanks to this guide, these terms will no longer seem unintelligible.

The author will accompany you on the discovery of a new taste dimension. Step by step, David Wishart identifies twelve dimensions of the aroma and taste of a single malt whisky: body, sweetness, smoky, medicinal, tobacco, honey, spicy, vinous, nutty, malty, fruity, floral. These twelve cardinal characteristics incorporate over 400 whisky terms found in some 1000 published tasting notes.

Whisky Classified also includes a brief description of the most important Scottish distillery, visitor information, and the author’s tasting notes of their whiskies.

Whisky a testing course: A New Way to Think – and Drink – Whisky

This handbook by Eddie Ludlow helps you discover your own personal style of whisky, forcing you to explore a new world.

Inside, you will find tasting sessions that guide you through the entire spectrum of whisky aromas and flavours, from the smoky flavour of Islay peat to the aromas of Japanese oak, from the honeyed sweetness of Kentucky Bourbon to the creaminess of Irish whisky.

You will also find tips on how to buy whisky, how to preserve bottles, how to perfectly pair your whisky with food and of course recipes for unforgettable cocktails that will make you look great with your friends. 

The book is also full of illustrations and infographics that also make it a perfect gift for all whisky lovers. 

Books for Very Beginner Whisky Lovers

Every whisky connoisseur has started his/her journey somewhere. These books are an excellent starting point for anyone approaching the world of whisky for the first time. 

The pocket guide to whisky

The world of whisky is so big that it can be intimidating at first. How do you navigate your way through a whole range of new brands and distilleries? Have no fear. Blair Bowman provides an easy-to-use guide to help new whisky enthusiasts on their way.

The Pocket Guide to Whisky is a practical guide to the world of whisky. This compact book explores every type of whisky and will tell you what to look for in whisky and what to avoid, the perfect combination for your dram and the ideal whisky for every occasion. Indeed, all the answers a whisky novice may be looking for are contained right here!

 30-Second Whisky By Charles Maclean

Can 50 paragraphs of 300 words contain the world of whisky? Well, the answer is yes! Or rather, this book contains all the pillars of the whisky world that you absolutely must know. The pictures help to make it an engaging little book. Perfect even for newcomers to the world of whisky. 

Whiskey Master Class: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, and More

The author of the book, Lew Bryson, is one of the most influential voices in the whisky world and in this book he shares everything he has learnt on his journey through the worlds of bourbon, scotch, rye, Japanese whisky and all the various whiskies that exist in this world.

Here you will find an overview of the different types of whisky, including the rules and identities of each variety, a guide to the key ingredients, with a close look at the aromatic contribution of malt, peat, corn, rye, grain and even water, 

Each chapter contains a series of unique photographs and insights from the most authoritative masters. A book that any whisky beginner (and even expert!) should have on their bedside table.

Bonus Book

Finally, MNIW suggests a bonus book to have on your bookshelf, just for the fun of going through it from time to time!

101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die

The title of this book speaks for itself. Probably each of us has a personal list of ‘whisky to drink before dying’. This book is great if you need suggestions on the matter.

The author reviews 101 brands that every whisky lover should taste in order to have the broadest possible knowledge of this drink. Each whisky listed in this book has a section for the reader’s notes so that the book can also be a personal diary of your whisky’s journey!

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