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In his ahead for the second version of Richard Thomas’s American Whiskey, Robin Robinson affords up the monumental understatement that the American whiskey trade is “a dynamic trade the place change is fixed.” That fact is born out simply in a fast comparability between the primary version of Mr. Thomas’s e book, printed in 2019, and the version reviewed right here that hit cabinets this fall. With dozens of large-scale distilleries always including new merchandise and a few 2,000 craft distilleries striving to do the identical, it’s no small endeavor to compile a country-wide glossary of American whiskey with sufficient element to be complete and entertaining however not a lot that it reads like a dictionary. That’s arguably this e book’s biggest success, even whereas loads of American whiskeys understandably go unmentioned.
For these new to American whiskey, Mr. Thomas has made researching all the better by breaking the nation into 5 geographic areas, every showcasing their very own giant distilleries and a consultant sampling of smaller “craft” operations (110 distilleries in complete). As a substitute of delving into particular person distilleries, Mr. Thomas opts to profile varied luminaries within the trade alongside their respective whiskeys, offering a extra customized and intimate background. Even there, nonetheless, his newest version can’t fairly sustain with the fixed churn of expertise inside such a busy trade (Jackie Zykan’s departure from Outdated Forester, for instance).
Mr. Thomas’s e book affords adequate historic background and technical element in straightforward to digest sections clearly designed for readability and brevity. Extra nuanced investigations into topics like Pennsylvania’s rye revival and the distilling growth in New York state are integrated into their particular regional sections, including helpful context to the assorted whiskeys which are subsequently explored. And fairly a couple of are; over 300, in reality, every with succinct however considerate tasting notes. Whereas Kentucky-based manufacturers alone eat 150 of the e book’s 550 or so pages, vital area is given to whiskeys from the likes of New York, Colorado, and Texas, amongst others. For a novice trying to perceive the cornucopia of American whiskey produced from sea to shining sea, Mr. Thomas’s e book is a good place to begin, however even the American whiskey “connoisseur” can profit from a information this well-organized and thorough.
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