Book Review: Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015

We’re deep into October and it means that a new Malt Whisky Yearbook was released. I got my copy of the 2015 edition last week (bought and signed at the TWE whisky show, Thanks Michael!) and I spent the last week going over it and enjoying it a lot.


Since it’s the first time I’m reviewing the MWY on the blog let me tell you what’s in it:

The first part contains different articles from various knowledgeable writers covering different aspects and fields on whisky. This year there are chapters on:

  • Whisky Maturation – Great read! I wish there were more articles like that and in depth
  • Blooming Irish Whisky industry
  • Different ways to serve whisky (including the cultural aspect) – always a hot topic for whisky aficionados. I hope poor Neil prepared some armour 🙂
  • History of NAS and Age statements – Charles Maclean knows his stuff and will surprise most of you.
  • Review of the last decade in the industry and an educated guess on the next decade.

Then There are a few chapters covering Scottish Distilleries (factual and historical Almanac of sort), world distilleries (Japan, Canada and all the rest) with short interviews.

The last part is for geeks (or CPAs ;-)) with lots of numbers and reviews how the industry fared last year.

As I said in the first paragraph, I enjoyed a lot reading the 2015 edition but I do have a few gripes with it:

  1. The chapter trying to forecast the next decade wasn’t bold enough. So much has happened in the last decade and I think the next decade will bring us more then NAS, rise of the grain and a bubble of craft distilleries.
  2. In the age of Internet, the Almanac is a bit of relic from the past. I’d prefer to have only the ‘change log’ of the last year in the book and have a full Almanac available to book buyers on a website
  3. The space saved from #2 would go toward more geekness: delve deeper into the science side of the process of making whisky, interviews with SWA officials & distillers, tell us the story (including the technical details) of setting up a distillery in Scotland and around the world, Independent bottlers, economic impact of distilleries on their surrounding (tourism, noise), etc
  4. I may be nitpicking but it bothered me that the entry for Shinshu distillery (pg 205) referred to 2 closed Japanese distilleries (Kyushu & Yamanashi) but there was no info on those closed distilleries. If you mention them in the book, give me some information on them!

But don’t let those gripes stop you from getting the MWY2015. Even with all those issues (which may not be issues for you), it’s a valuable resource of information on whisky and the industry. Get your own copy at their official website. It’s only £13.95 and it’s worth every penny.


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