Heather Greene is a very talented whiskey writer and presenter. I met her before this book came out and was impressed with her knowledge of all things whiskey. She started her whiskey career in Scotland as a brand ambassador for a Scotch whisky company. Before that change in career she was a singer with a couple of CDs under her belt so she is very comfortable doing a presentation. I love listening to her talk. She has a very natural style that is easy to listen to and speaks from knowledge, not note cards. A very impressive teacher of all things whiskey.

This book was written to share that knowledge with people wanting to learn more about whiskey. If you are looking for a book that will teach you about all types of whiskey, I would recommend you starting with this book.  Whether it is Bourbon, Rye, Scotch, Canadian or any other type of whiskey, she covers it in the book. She is very well organized and writes in an entertaining style. Grab a glass of your favorite whiskey and sit down on the porch and enjoy learning about whiskey.

Whisk(e)y Distilled: A Populist Guide to the Water of Life. Heather Greene, New York: Viking Studio, 2014. Table of Contents, Reference notes, Illustrations, Index. 253 pp.

Heather Greene was the Spirits Sommelier for the Flatiron Room in New York City. She has in the past worked for a Scottish distillery and traveled talking about whiskey. She has taken this knowledge and turned it into a very informative book for those just getting into the drinking of whiskey. The book answers many of the simple questions asked by those who are first exploring the world of whiskey (What is a dram? for example.) The book tells the reader what to look for on a label for each type of whiskey. This is important in that there is a lot to be learned from reading labels. The book has many excellent drawings and maps to help with Greene’s explanations. Greene has also included many very nice color photographs.

The book is laid out very well. It starts with some very fundamental information on what is whiskey. This is followed with a chapter on how it is made and sources of flavor. Next comes the different types of whiskey being made in the world and then information on building your own whiskey selection for your home bar with the utensils and glassware needed to make that perfect whiskey cocktail. The last two chapters deal with cocktails and pairing whiskey with food for both cooking and eating.

This is an excellent addition to the Bourbon Library. It is a very good beginners book, but it also has some information that the seasoned veteran of whiskey drinking will appreciate. The chapter on whiskey and food is very interesting and worth reading even if you have been cooking with whiskey for decades. Greene does an excellent job of making the reader think again about the subject and makes the reader want to cook something just to see if they agree with the book.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller