Disclosure: I am reviewing a media early release copy of 101 Legendary Whiskies by Ian Buxton provided by his publisher, all comments and views are 100% my own and are unquestionably honest.
I have been an avid fan of the 101 Whiskies series by Ian Buxton for a few years now. I use the books both to inspire my collecting, to alert me to releases I want to obtain or try and even in client research and as stimulus for some of the designers my brand strategy consultancy works with, as the images below show.
Why am I such a fan of Ian’s books?
Well that’s simple; they’re engaging, not copy heavy, tell interesting stories and use visuals of bottles incredibly well to take readers on a journey of discovery whilst educating and inspiring.
High praise, I’m sure you’ll agree, but when you pick up one of these books you’ll know what I’m talking about.
The latest in the series, titled 101 Legendary Whiskies You’re Dying to Try But (Possibly) Never Will goes beyond the accessible we are used to in both his previous releases in the series, namely 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die and 101 World Whiskies To Try Before You Die, into a world of mystery, excitement and near-unobtainable.
Now, as I flick through the book I can see a few that I recognise from top shelves in exclusive whisky bars around the world, some of which I’m fortunate to have tried. And some I would have to mortgage my house to afford a timeshare in the bottle, let along the whole thing.
Ardbeg Galileo is one that stands out for me personally.
I spent a full year hunting this dram until I found it on, of all places, Islay at the Ballygrant Inn. I ended up having a few of them and now actively try and buy one on the whisky auction sites each month but it consistently goes a bit too high.
This book forms a list of drams for the avid whisky hunters and malt manics amongst us to seek out and enjoy. I guarantee you will not get through the list as Ian himself was unable to sample all of the whiskies in the book, especially as a number of them reside in private collections now far away from the whisky lists we would like to see them on.
The word ‘legendary’ in the title is intriguing, it could not be more apt.
Every single one of the drams featured through the book that I’d heard of (despite my love of our water of life, there are a few I’m only getting to know as I go along), have only been talked about with stories, smiles and myth-building, but through reading this book I am now armed with their back story.
Now I’ve read through the entire book, I can safely say that the insight and intrigue offered by Ian is virtually unrivalled in the whisky world, well worth investing in this book (and the whole series) and using them as a reference point to not only learn about drams you already love but to open your mind to what other drams you may either be missing or you should be hunting for.
Book available from Amazon here.
In case you were unaware of Ian, his bio reads:
Ian Buxton is a former Marketing Director of Glenmorangie and has worked in the industry for more than 20 years. He was elected a Keeper of the Quaich in 1991, and is a member of the tasting panel for the World Whisky Awards and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers. He lives in Perthshire on the site of a former distillery.
Also published on Medium.