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VCH Book Review # 1--Whisky by Aeneas MacDonald

Prowl around the whisky world for very long, and you may well reach a point where you want to learn more about the noble spirit than can be gleaned from internet articles and YouTube videos. Nothing beats a good book for more in-depth study of a given subject. If your subject is single malt scotch whisky, we humbly submit this book is an excellent starting point in your higher education.

Whisky was first published in 1930 in a small run of 1600 books. It would take 77 years and the recent renaissance in single malt whisky appreciation to see it republished in this nice hardbound edition. Respected modern whisky writers Ian Buxton and Charlie MacLean add additional and valuable material that is helpful to the modern reader for context. But the real magic is in MacDonald’s original text.

He speaks eloquently of many whiskies that are no more. But no matter—the language is beautiful. And we haven’t seen a better whisky book for capturing the spirit of what it means to be Scottish and how that relates to the mythic malt we all love so well.

Another reviewer called it a prose poem to whisky, and that about sums it up. Our favorite whisky writer and blogger, Scotsman Ralph Mitchell (Ralfystuff on YouTube), picked MacDonald’s classic Whisky as one of his top three whisky books.

Aeneas MacDonald’s stated goal was to enlighten us about “this great, potent, and princely drink.” Thank you, Aeneas. We think you hit it out of the park.

Oh, and Aeneas was actually Scottish writer and intellectual George Malcolm Thomson. The writer assumed a pseudonym for this paean to peat whisky out of respect for his mother, who didn’t hold with the drinking.

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