When photographer Charles Button named this book, he could not have been more literal. The Art of Whisky does not speak to the chemical construction and craft of spirits, nor does it consider bottles or label artwork, as each already enjoys numerous volumes of published commentary. Instead, it presents the patterns of various whiskies as they form at the bottom of the glass, held up at various angles under complex lighting arrangements. The results form beautiful pieces which bear resemblance to abstract art, modern album artwork, or high-resolution microscopy images commonly found in scientific journals.
To Button’s credit, he has enlisted legendary Scotch ambassador Charles MacLean to provide engaging liner notes, and Howard A. Stone, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University, to deliver an informative overview of the fluid dynamics of whisky (or: why is it we are seeing what we are seeing?) In fairness, while both were incredibly accessible and engaging reads, it was a challenge to keep attention without wanting to go back and forth between photos and text to see the explanations unfold visually.
It is hard not to get lost, or attempt to emulate, this magnificent work in this book (my modest attempt was not successful by any stretch). If we were to run a feature on Best Books for 2022, this would easily rest at the top of my list. It is one of the best visual documents fusing art, nature, science, whisky, and technology that I’ve yet to encounter.
A / $25/ [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]