Even knowing that he wasn't related to any similarly-named man that I'd ever heard of, the author's name almost put me off buying the book. The first Michael Jackson that I learned about was a computer person who devised some programming rules that I didn't like, to say the least, even though I never worked anywhere where I would have been required to apply his rules. Then there's the singer, who at least recorded SOME decent music. One of his albums, Off the wall, is brilliant but although he recorded some other good music, mostly I wish he hadn't bothered. All in all, then, the name Michael Jackson doesn't inspire confidence in me, but the author of this book shows that one should never judge somebody purely on their name. He writes authoritatively and clearly about whisky around the world. In this book, other contributors have also written a few pieces.
Although I am sure that Michael and the other contributors know far more about whisky than they are able to include in a single book, there is enough here to satisfy most people's curiosity. The first section (understanding whiskies) explains some of the basics and even includes a couple of pages about whisky in literature. Sadly, there is no mention of whisky in song although there would be plenty to choose from.
Next comes a section (aromas and flavors) explaining the factors that determine the differences between whiskies. Climate, geology, water, heather, sea breeze, seaweed, barley and peat all make their mark even before processing begins. The section continues by giving details of the distillation and maturing process and the factors that influence the final result.
The book then contains further sections describing whisky production around the world, with the 94-page section on Scotland being longer than the sections for the rest of the world added together. No surprise there, because Scotland is still synonymous with whisky. Ireland, Canada, America and Japan all get significant coverage with a mere six pages covering the rest of the world. Within these sections, information including the type of produced is given about distilleries still operating at the time the book was written, as well as some details of former distilleries.
Finally, there is a section titled enjoying whisky covering whisky cocktails, whisky with your meal and cooking with whisky. I confess that on the occasions when I've enjoyed cocktail drinks, they tend not to be whisky-based. I like my whisky neat or with water or ice.
If you enjoy whisky, even occasionally, and are interested in learning about the processes that create the drink, this book should provide you with exactly what you want.