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Who is a whisky guide book for? The novice looking to plunge into the world of whisky, or the enthusiast looking to deepen their understanding of things? Maybe even a professional needing a quick reference at hand. The “Malt Whisky Yearbook 2023”, published by MagDig Media and edited by Ingvar Ronde, offers something for all of the above. Providing a primer that covers history, tasting notes, and quick facts on distilleries old and new.
I appreciate the format of this book – it starts with a few short articles on things relevant to the world of whisky. These opening articles are clearly written by people that know their subject matter. My only complaint about the whole thing is that these opening articles at moments can come off as dense. One of them condenses 500 years of history into a single page and felt like I needed to do research to keep up.
It then moves into the core of the book, a good guide of Scotch whisky distilleries giving no frill reviews, simplified timelines, and a brief breakdown of the history and unique characteristics of the distillery. They break this up with little highlights of ghost distilleries explaining their history and how old stock is used today. The book moves on to provide a simplified guide of new distilleries just covering some basic facts.
They then change format to cover an impressive number of distilleries outside of Scotland. This brings it to the wider world of malt whisky. These quick snippets cover location, founding year, and a quick paragraph to give an idea of the distillery. A good reference for when planning a trip and wanting to check what distilleries may be nearby. They make sure to recognize producers as well in a similar format of smaller blurbs.
As a self proclaimed nerd, their statistics section was delightful. Even though the section is only three pages at the end of the book, it gives a great snapshot of just how much Scotch is being produced and consumed.
While I have not seen previous editions of this particular book, I can only compare it to similar guides. Overall, Malt Whisky Yearbook 2023 is a well laid out reference book that is useful for people at all levels in their journey into the world of whisky. Giving broad overviews for the beginner, while going into detail enough to give the professional some new bits here and there, this would make for a good addition to any whisky lover’s book collection.