No one gets out of here alive, but Ian Buxton most certainly wants to make sure we’ve had our fill before shuffling off this mortal coil. In fact, one could reach the conclusion that it is his life’s mission. The author of 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die, 101 Gins to Try Before You Die, 101 Rums to Try Before You Die, 101 Legendary Whiskies You’re Dying to Try and 101 Whiskies That Will Kill You if You Try Them (I made that one up) and other engaging titles not involved in the art of indexing 101 items has established one heck of a bibliography listing off things we all need to try before our taste buds and major organs cease to function. And to his credit, he does it quite well.
In this revised second edition of 101 Craft and World Whiskies to Try Before You Die, readers will experience a wide variety of expressions from across the globe indexed alphabetically by country, and Buston does his best to leave no nation unchecked in the process. There’s a wide variety of flavor profiles and finishes within each of the selections, different distillation styles, and various mashbills. There really is something on this list to satisfy every palate and preference.
Readers wanting to approach this book as a definitive tome to high-end luxury whiskies will most certainly find disappointment. Buxton favors the accessible over the obscure and the affordable over the high-end luxury market, one which grows further out of reach to the many by the week. He also provides nods of awareness to new micro-distilleries and startups which may be on the radar but could use a bit of shine in the spotlight.
Of course, the inevitable arguments will arise over the inclusion of Distillery X over Distillery Y. But Buxton sets the reader straight right from the onset that book is not definitive, as evidenced by this being a second edition. All of that nonsense aside, it’s an accessible volume with pretense-free language designed with everyone in mind, not just the blogger with an axe to grind or the video podcast host chest-puffing and beard-stroking over the latest Daftmill release. It’s a smart reference volume to have around when in the mood for exploration or providing something different for a social gathering.
A- / $20 / BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON