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Peat Smoke and Spirit: The Story of Islay and Its Whiskies Hardcover – 1 Nov 2004


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (1 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747227357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747227359
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 24.3 x 4.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 407,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

A cracking social history of Islay which might have been dreamed up by Robert Louis Stevenson. There are shipwrecks and betrayals, acts of great heroism and enormous folly. By the end of this exceptionally well written book, you will have the sense of knowing much of this island, and a very strong urge to go there for a wee dram or two (Evening Standard)

If ever there was a book to read on a cold - possibly moonlit - night with a stiff dram beside you, then this is it. Irresistible (Scotland on Sunday)

A dram good read... Jefford's descriptions of the drinks themselves are almost as delicious as some of the flavours he evokes (Hampstead & Highgate Express)

A read for the taste buds...Although the book is likely to be read by the discerning drinkers of malt whisky, the appeal of Jefford's writing is to far more than Scotch tipplers (Canberra Times)

I defy tea-total imbibers not to be bewitched and beguiled by Jefford's deft and spirited writing... For anyone who loves a dram, this is essential reading (Oxford Times)

An intriguing history (Melbourne Age)

The pages simply resonate with detailed portraits of the whiskies, the characters who produce them, and the landscapes which have fashioned this most precious of beverages (Clive Platman)

Jefford mixes travelogue, history, and a library of whisky knowledge to bring not just this unique brew, but Islay itself, to life (Good Book Guide)

Fans of malt whisky, fans of the island of Islay... and fans of good writing should make a beeline for wine writer Andrew Jefford's lyrical latest book, PEAT SMOKE AND SPIRIT. This is part history, part geography and only part whisky lesson (quite segregated from the rest of the book), but the writing is so good that it does not feel like education. This is a strong candidate for drinks book of the year and certainly looks good enough to give as a present (Jancis Robinson)

Here is a literary ramble around the whisky-saturated island, in which Jefford relates its history, endures its weather, explores the shipwrecks around its shores and meets some of its 3,400 inhabitants - as well, of course, as taking us on frequent excursions to its famous distilleries (Financial Times)

A wonderful yarn if you simply like to be entertained, however, it is also a geographical, geological, history-rich travel guide to Islay and a terrific textbook for the budding as well as the serious Islay whisky aficionado... I couldn't think of a better writer to capture the essence of Islay and suggest that no one who loves Islay whiskies can afford not to own this book (Franz Scheurer, Australian Gourmet Pages)

Andrew Jefford, boldest and most stylish of contemporary drinks writers, had defied the trend with a hefty, and totally original, volume on Islay which should interest even teetotallers... The book's a real achievement (Harpers)

Jefford has spent time uncovering the stories, the people and the myths of Islay. He covers production of Islay whisky and gives background on the distilleries, but manages to wrap the facts up in such a way that they become part of the story. Recommended for anoyone remotely interested in whisky (Yorkshire Post)

A book about a love affair with the rocky island off Scotland's west coast... Jefford has woven the history of each of the whiskies with the history of the island and makes a fascinating weave... True aficionados will enjoy the detail of how each distillery was started, the history and detailed tasting notes... He brings [whisky] to life (The West Australian Weekend)

A long, eloquent exploration dealing as much with history and culture as with drink. It displays all the learning and passion that charaterises every single word that Jefford writes (Richard Erhlich, Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

A wonderfully evocative book that reflects a place and a taste never to be forgotten once sampled: the perfect book to curl up with in front of the fire

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Dec 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is partly a whisky book, partly and travel book and partly a social portrait of the island of Islay.
For the Islay whisky enthusiast, this is the most detailed and complete book I have ever seen. All of the Islay whisky distilleries and their products are descried in complete detail. An added bonus; the book discusses at length why each of the whiskies tastes as it does.
As well as the in-depth discussion of the whiskies, the book is a travelog of the island. Much of the island's history is described, and the reader gets to 'meet' some interesting island characters. The author is a professional writer of some ability, and it makes a change to have such a book written by a talented author.
Without doubt, the best book about the island of Islay and also the best book about Islay whiskies. If you like the island or the whiskies (or both), get this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jan 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully written combination of history, geography, social comment and whisky lore. One tip: get a detailed map of Islay to have next to you or you spend your life going back and forwards to the map inside the cover.
Be warned! Owning this book will cost you money. At least the requisite bottles of Islay malt to appreciate as you read and at most, a trip to Islay. Mine is booked.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting book. I very much liked the histories of all the distillaries
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