Whiskey Book Review: The Art of Distilling Whiskey and Other Spirits

The Art of Distilling Whiskey and Other Spirits is a must read for anyone interested in the production process, history, or future of fine spirits. It's edited by Bill Owens and Alan Dikty, two of the biggest names in the distilling industry (and the craft-brewing industry to boot). Given the vast knowledge that Owens and Dikty bring to the table, you're bound to learn something from this book even if you're already well-versed in the world fine spirits.

My favorite thing about this book is that serves three purposes at the same time. First it's a beautiful coffee-table book with dozens of beautiful photos showing the various bottles, stills, and people that make up the world of artisan distilling. It's worth having around just for the photos, but wait there's more! The Art of Distilling Whiskey is also an informative and entertaining introduction to how distilled spirits are made, and the differences between the various categories of spirits. If you're looking for a comprehensive but digestible book to bring you up to speed on the world of spirits this one is perfect. Finally, this book is a great reference volume. It contains a wide-ranging bibliography of further reading on the topic of distilling, a distiller's glossary, and a comprehensive international directory of distilleries that focuses on small craft producers.

In summary, this is a book that you'll go back to time and again as you have questions about what you're drinking, who made it, and how it got to be so darn tasty. For the moment it's also the most up-to-date book in its category and contains few of the omissions and errors that I've found in similar books from just a few years ago. It is hard to write comprehensively about the constantly-changing world of spirits, but after reading through The Art of Distilling Whiskey I can see why it has become a classic only a year after first being published. I look forward to reading more of Bill Owens' books and reporting back on them here.