There’s two must have books released about whisky every year. The first is Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible – which we talked about here. The second, and probably less contentious but all so very vital, is Ingvar Ronde’s Malt Whisky Yearbook. It’s the essential resource and reference book for malt heads (and only malt – so you’ll find no reference to any grain distillers here – so no Middleton, no Cameron Bridge etc.)
Updated every year it lists histories, production regimes, a tasting note for the distilleries core bottle and other various information about every working malt distillery in Scotland and Ireland. Very handy if you need to know the smallest distillery in Speyside or how many distilleries use worm tubs. Nicholas Coldicott takes over writing duites from Chris Bunting on the Japanese distilleries and the chapter on World distilleries has increased (in both size and interest) mainly due to the explosion of American malt distillers. At the back of the book you’ll find the yearly review of all the big whisky players and information about the distilleries that are being planned or built (eight are listed plus a couple of maybes!)
This year there are a couple of added features. There’s a nice section from top cocktail consultant Ryan Chetiyawardana about whisky cocktails, a piece about matching whisky with food and a general discussion from some of the people working on the whisky frontline about the latest trends and developments in the industry. As always there are a number of articles from top whisky writers, with subjects ranging from brand positioning from caskstrength writer Neil Ridley, the development of the world whisky category from Dominic Roskrow and insight into how new flavours can be obtained from the production process from Ian Wisniewski.
The Malt Whisky Yearbook is an invaluable guide to all things whisky, there’s a lot of depth and it’s simply a joy to read. It’s a book that you’ll keep going back to and referring to, that you’ll find it never leaves your bag. Time to put the 2012 edition on the (within reach) shelf and get stuck in with the 2013. Enjoy.