Peat Smoke and Spirit (Anglais) Broché – 6 juin 2005
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
The attention to detail and thoroughness of this book brings the distilleries so vividly alive that you can almost smell the whisky. Thoroughly recommended to whisky connoisseur and dabbler alike (Birmingham Evening Mail)
There's no better book about these whiskies than Andrew Jefford's PEAT SMOKE AND SPIRIT... Jefford is an excellent writer... In PEAT SMOKE AND SPIRIT, Andrew Jefford has written a compelling narrative that succeeds on every level (Mid-Atlantic Brewing News)
Présentation de l'éditeur
Those who discover malt whisky quickly learn that the malts made on the Isle of Islay are some of the wildest and most characterful in the malt-whisky spectrum.
In PEAT SMOKE AND SPIRIT, Islay's fascinating story is uncovered: from its history and stories of the many shipwrecks which litter its shores, to intimate descriptions of the beautiful wildlife, landscape and topography of the island. Interwoven through these different narrative strands comes the story of the whiskies themselves, traced from a distant past of bothies and illegal stills to present-day legality and prosperity. The flavour of each spirit is analysed and the differences between them teased out, as are the stories of the notable men and women who have played such a integral part in their creation.
PEAT SMOKE AND SPIRIT is the last word on Islay and its whiskies.
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Un passionné de whisky depuis plus de 15 ans...
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
I have many other entertaining and wonderfully-photographed books on whisky but by far, this is the most fulfilling intellectually. Chock full of etymological analysis and biological and historical facts, it must certainly rank as one of the most exhaustive texts on Islay (and its whiskies) to date. I must admit that I initially found the extensive bits about some of the early clan figures and their feuds a bit dry but after careful reading and absorption, it fit right in with the all-encompassing nature of the book.
I still had some questions regarding specifics of the distillation process and this book answered every one. It covers just about everything you'd ever want to know about the basics and delves further into the individual idiosyncrasies of each distillery. What are the particulars of Lagavulin's condensers? What are the lyne arm angles at Bunnahabhain? What are the spirit cuts at Laphroaig? All this and more are revealed in minute detail. Mr. Jefford also tackles some of the more controversial aspects of whisky production including the influence of peat levels in the water source, what role (if any) seaside maturation plays and the preferences for wood or stainless steel washbacks, among many other things.
Mercifully, this is not simply a dry technical text either so just as much energy is put into exploring the geology, natural history, weather and culture of Islay and its people. Perhaps an updated version is in order since quite a bit has changed since the book was written however it is still a fascinating book and if you're a lover of single malt, you'd be doing yourself a big favor in owning it.
If you're into Islay whiskies you have to like this book, there's no other way. The book was written by one either, and it shows. Hence it's easy to forgive the vocabulary, which isn't exactly simplified English at times, but then again whisky is no simplified drink either. And yes, the best way to get into the book is with a dram (or two) by your side. If you were ever looking for a comprehensive read about Islay and its whiskies, this is it.
For starters, author Andrew Jefford offers some good background information about whisky distillation. His description of wash and spirit still design is relatively brief yet quite informative. I learned more with his words than from many of the other, more expensive, books in my library. While knowing the ingredients and brewing process is pretty basic, the narrative is interesting and refreshing. Then, he covers distillation in a way that other whisky writers just don't quite match.
Turning to the core of the book - about Islay. Quite impressive! He's sandwiched descriptions of each distillery in between background material about Islay. About as close as one can get without actually going!
The descriptions of each distillery were quite thorough with both history and information on the style used by each. Jefford helps the reader to understand that whisky is an art rather than science. There is so much that we don't understand about what goes into a memorable whisky - and Jefford helps us to understand why through his descriptions of each operation. The water is often cited by distillers - not necessarily according to what he writes. The amount of peat, the grain and so on all may or may not be a factor and this book gives a good feel for that reality. At the end of each distillery's chapter is a list of hard facts - quite useful when making comparisons or considering whether to purchase a particular whisky. Also interesting is that he is able to be critical about a distillery without being negative - if the reader isn't reflective some good points might even be overlooked.
The chapters about Islay's people, history and geography are valuable - whether one does or doesn't visit this unique part of Scotland.
My greatest complaint is the book's lack of a detailed map or maps. Fortunately, my copy of the Islay Ordnance Survey map (#60) made up for that lack. Without the detailed ordnance map the oh-so-many different places that Jefford mentions/describes can get jumbled in the mind. I recommend having a copy of the ordnance map if you like detail.
One last thought, I usually inhale books at the rate of several a week. It was impossible with this one - it took me about three weeks to get through "Peat Smoke and Spirit". I didn't mind and never felt like giving up. It was just that there is so much to digest. I'm not complaining - to me that's the sign of an excellent work. I must confess that I skipped over some of his vocabulary - usually I run to my dictionaries. He seems to be using colloquialisms that have yet to find their way into dictionaries - well, ok - that's his style.
So thank you very much Andrew Jefford, you've brought me almost as much pleasure as has a glass of Ardbeg distilled in the `60s! I recommend this book!