I only just got my copy today, so there is much I can say at this point about Whiskypedia: A Gazetteer of scotch Whisky by Charles MacLean (Birlinn Ltd July 31, 2009; 352 pages; $30). That said, it looks tremendously good.
Until I have a chance to review this, here is some of the marketing blurb:
Individual distilleries give their whiskies unique characteristics. These characteristics do not arise magically (as was once thought), nor are they the result of terroir or region (as is still thought, by some). They have their roots in the craft and custom of the distillery and of the district in which it is located, but the key influences upon flavour are the distilling equipment itself, how it is operated and how the spirit is matured. For the first time, "MacLean's Whiskypedia" explores the flavour and character of every malt whisky distilled in Scotland with reference to how it is made.In this title, introductory sections explain the contribution made by each stage of production and maturation, to elucidate the detailed notes about how malt whisky is made at each distillery. The distillery entries also provide historical notes and quirky facts. Malt whisky is the quintessential 'spirit of place', and this element of the story has been captured by John Macpherson's camera in specially commissioned images which compliment the text. This is a wholly new approach to understanding and enjoying Scotch malt whisky, by the foremost authority on the subject in collaboration with one of Scotland's leading photographers.
I should also point out that Charlie MacLean is a great guy, and an absorbing writer on whisky. Here is more blurb on the book from Charlie's website:
Why does Scotch whisky taste as it does? Where do the flavours come from? How might they have they changed over the years?
The flavour of Scotch is as much influenced by history, craft and tradition as it is by science. Whiskypedia explores these influences. Introductory sections provide an historical overview, an examination of regional differences, and an explanation of the contribution made by each stage of the production process.
The Gazeteer which follows is a comprehensive guide to all the distilleries in Scotland (both malt and grain). Each entry provides a brief account of the distillery's history and curiosities, lists the bottlings which are currently available, details how the whisky is made and explores the flavour and character of each make.
Charles MacLean has spent almost thirty years researching, writing and lecturing about Scotch whisky. Whiskpedia is the result of deep emersion in its subject. It will guide, entertain and inform novices and experts alike.