Judging by the credentials listed in his author blurb on the back sleeve, Dominc Roskrow could certainly lay claim to being an “expert” in his field of study. A veteran writer and author with over two decades of published works, he’s received the Scotch industry’s highest order – Keeper of the Quaich – and was made an honorary Kentucky Colonel in 2010. He had the honor of updating Michael Jackson’s Complete Guide To Scotch and his list of contributing editorships reads like a Who’s Who of Whiskey publications (he currently serves as editor of Whiskeria magazine).
So when he decided to christen his book The World’s Best Whiskies: 750 Essential Drams From Tennessee To Tokyo, its hard to question or find fault with his expertise. The 288-page, full-color book is incredibly thorough and offers a solid orientation platform for newcomers, dedicating 50 pages to Whisk(e)y 101 basics such as ingredients, the distillation process, the tasting process, classic cocktail recipes, and food pairings before getting down to the nitty gritty: 750 reviews of whiskies from around the world. Roskow takes great time and careful consideration with his language to describe each entry with easy-to-reference icons and succinct descriptions.
Along the way he take detours to write about the people who make the magic happen: distillers from Scotland to India and Canada to Kentucky. Unlike some whiskey guides, he avoids self-serving narratives and paeans of self -congratulation, instead focusing his book on the spirits (and craftspeople) themselves. Roskow writes even-handedly, but not without passion, and the fruits of his joyous labor are the reader’s benefit. It’s tough not to share his enthusiasm, and incredibly easy for even the most hardened veteran drinker to learn something new.
Unlike Jackson’s book (considered the gold standard by many experts), Roskow doesn’t aim to be all-inclusive and micro-detailed in his selections. His aim is simply to present some of the best drams in the world, and he does so in vivid language and color with crisp photography. Quite simply: The World’s Best Whiskies: 750 Essential Drams From Tennessee To Tokyo is a beautiful coffee-table styled book that any aficionado would enjoy in their library, and an excellent primer for those just getting started in discovering the wide, wild world of spirits.
A- / $26 / [BUY IT FROM AMAZON]