Book Review: Tasting Whiskey For Dummies

Book Review: Tasting Whiskey For Dummies

coverAt $6 and a scant 25 pages in length — and not even an official “Dummies” title —  it’s difficult to give this one a full-throated endorsement, especially after just reading Heather Greene’s excellent guide on the same subject matter. Jake Olson does indeed cover the basics of whiskey tasting, with a very direct, almost dry, writing style. Brief entries on the history of whiskey, the process by which it is made, and the different types available make up the majority of the book. A few basic recipes for essential cocktails are offered. That’s really about it, folks. I believe the Wikipedia entry on whiskey is more expansive and informative. And free of charge.

The challenge was not to power through Olson’s primitive report, but to take this pamphlet as a legitimate body of work. Much more content could have been offered, and it certainly would have helped to have a decent copy editor; if only because it’s spelled “Johnnie” and not “Jonny” Walker. Sometimes it’s better not to self-publish. Sometimes it’s better to just leave things on a hard drive to send as a Word document to friends. This would be one of those times.


Tasting Whiskey For Dummies




Rob Theakston is a contributing editor to Drinkhacker.


  1. John S. Steidler on January 20, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Any chanced that a person could get some free copies of this whiskey tasting reviews so that I could pass it on to my son-in-law who likes to read about and try various kinds of whiskey, vodka and other kinds of liquors.

  2. Jack Heller on January 22, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    What I have noticed right away: this is not a title in the “for Dummies” series published by Wiley. This Olson character is probably violating a registered trademark.

  3. Disgruntled Scotsman on April 11, 2016 at 2:02 am

    I am a Scotsman who is an ambassador for the industry and train staff in whisky knowledge and the only thing I can say about this book is the majority of what is printed is just plain wrong. Anyone who would like to know anything about whisky go elsewhere. The basics are there but it is very clearly poorly researched. For the simple fact that he makes the assumption that ALL Irish whiskey is triple distilled and ‘not smokey’ is NONSENSE firstly, and not only is the spelling mistake in Johnnie Walker but also uses the incorrect whiskEy spelling for referencing Scotch whisky. Also, Phylloxera did attack vines but it was the BRANDY market worldwide that disappeared and people moved onto whisky……not wine. I could continue but there’s too many inconsistencies to list. It’s as if it was written for a school project and I can honestly say that if this man considers himself a whisky expert he is WAY off the mark.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.