Book Review: Rare Whisky: Explore the World’s Most Exquisite Spirits

Book Review: Rare Whisky: Explore the World’s Most Exquisite Spirits

Simply put: Patrick Mahe’s Rare Whisky compendium is an incredibly exquisite coffee table book. It is an absolute delight to get lost in the high-resolution photography of some of the world’s most sought-after bottles while sipping on something which is most likely (more on that in a second) not contained in the book’s 200+ pages.

There are many dream drams, present and accounted for, with names that appear in high-end travel stores, auctions, and press releases to pique the attention of anyone who has been around long enough to witness the transformation of whisky to an ultra-premium, seven-figure investment and collector’s hobby for the nouveau riche. The 50-Year-Old Yamazaki and the 1926 Macallan, Port Ellens and Glen Grants, all make appearances alongside dusties such as a 1916 Allman’s Irish Whiskey. It’s a book easy to get lost in, and while the bottles are the star of the show, Mahe’s storytelling serves the visual component well. He never steers into overly ostentatious language but makes compelling cases to the novice audience for why these bottles are important.

If there is a minor quarrel to be had, it is that some of the choices in Rare Whisky truly aren’t that rare. Internationally, there is a mild-to-fair chance that Elijah Craig Barrel Proof may be a hard-to-find bottle.  But the inclusion of Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, Blade Runner Johnnie Walker Black and Old Forester, all readily available to us poors here in the States, feels like a misstep. Especially when there are many other highly prized and sought-after expressions available for consideration (for example, a Bonili Willett Family Estate).

240 pages.


Rare Whisky: Explore the World’s Most Exquisite Spirits




Rob Theakston is a contributing editor to Drinkhacker.

Leave a Comment

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