Best Whiskey Books to Give as Holiday Gifts This Year

Whiskey Books Make Great Holiday Gifts for Whiskey Lovers

Looking to get the whiskey lover in your life a good gift this year? While a bottle of something special is generally never turned down by prospective recipients, you have other options, too. And after all, if you’re supposed to teach someone to fish so they can do it themselves, then shouldn’t you really be helping them learn how to pick out their own bottles, instead of just doing it for them? [Note to people buying me gifts — you can still buy me bottles.]

There are of course plenty of great whiskey books and authors out there in addition to what you’ll find on this list, but here, I’m focusing on new books released within the last year, with an emphasis on the books I’ve personally explored.

New Whiskey Books to Give as Holiday Gifts

The World Atlas of Whisky (New Edition)

  • Author: Dave Broom
  • Who It’s Best For: Whisky connoisseurs looking to learn about specific distilleries & drams from across the globe

In this updated edition from Dave Broom, he examines over 200 distilleries and more than 400 pours. Scotland is the focus, but he goes global covering Ireland, Japan, Canada, the US and other regions as well. Another feature is the ‘Flavor Camp Charts’ which group whiskeys by style, and you’ll also find over 200 color photographs and 21 color maps locating distilleries and sites.

Bourbon Curious

  • Author: Fred Minnick
  • Who It’s Best For: Bourbon drinkers who want to take their knowledge to the next level

This is an exhaustive look at all things bourbon. You’ll find detailed takes on different distilleries, the people behind them and their specific production methods, and all the different bourbons they produce. Learn how to separate bourbons into different classifications and styles and find new ones you want to try, and develop your own palate and tastes. There’s also a great deal of information on the basics of bourbon, what it is and isn’t, and popular myths.

Tasting Whiskey

  • Author: Lew Bryson
  • Who It’s Best For: Global whiskey drinkers who want to take their knowledge to the next level

Lew Bryson is the long-time editor of Whisky Advocate, and in this book he goes long-form in explaining the wide world of whiskey in ways that even that magazine doesn’t allow. He covers all the major categories, from Scotch and Irish whiskey, to bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, Japanese to Canadian. Then there’s also food pairings, cocktail tips, and ideas for building and maintaining a collection.

Lost Recipes of Prohibition

  • Author: Matthew Rowley
  • Who It’s Best For: History buffs and/or cocktail nerds looking to combine those passions

The only book on the list that doesn’t deal solely with whiskey, Rowley’s book uncovers recipes, tips and tricks of the Prohibition era, sourced from an unearthed bootlegger notebook. There are more than 300 recipes for making liquors, cordials, bitters, wines and drinks, with pages of the handwritten notebook reproduced with commentary and suggestions for home experimentation, and other unique insight on what the recipes and techniques were really all about.

Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert

  • Author: Davin de Kergommeaux
  • Who It’s Best For: The Canadian whisky curious – what’s really going on up there?

Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye just got named as Jim Murray’s whisky of the year. Say what? It’s time to turn to Davin de Kergommeaux, who is perhaps the preeminent expert on all things Canadian whisky. In this guide, you’ll get an inside look at what’s being made up north, including unique production methods, how Canadian whisky is defined and classified, why it tastes the way it does, its history, and how it has progressed as of late. The category has often been overlooked by whisky connoisseurs, but by the time you’re done with this guide, you won’t be making that mistake yourself.

Bourbon Empire

  • Author: Reid Mitenbuler
  • Who It’s Best For: People who know what they want to drink, but want to know where it came from

This book dives into the background of bourbon and American whiskey, along with its effect on and place in American history, and the many ups and downs of its politics and economics. Follow bourbon from innovation and success to downfall and resurrection and look ahead into the future, while examining the spirit, the industry, and the people who are a part of it all.

The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Whiskey

  • Author: Richard Betts
  • Who It’s Best For: Whiskey newbies looking to skip the heavy reading & enjoy some interactive fun

This adult-topic-in-children’s-book format Scratch & Sniff Guide is a light, fun take on whiskey education. You’ll learn the answers to some basic questions, distinguishing between different types of whiskey, regions, and production methods. Then there the actual scratch and sniff flavors and aromas, depicting profiles of various grains and the impact of certain techniques or styles. Those can be hit or miss, but this is more about the fun and basic info than high-level accuracy.

Author: Jake Emen

I’m Jake, and I’m your host on this journey. I'm the man doing the eating and the talking around here. I’m a writer based outside of Washington, D.C., and I'm also talking whiskey, local events, travel, and other assorted misadventures. Follow me on the Tweet Machine - @ManTalkFood, or send an email to jake [at] mantalkfood.com.

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