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on 31 March 2010
Writing the latest version of Michael Jackson's Malt Whisky Companion is akin to taking over the squad football shirt from a legendary footballer; you cannot possibly win in the eyes of his followers. Any yet winning isn't really the point; you know you will never replace the great man, you are aware of his permanent place in the hearts of millions, you continue to honour his memory and you move on. This is exactly what Dominic Roskrow, Gavin Smith and William Meyers have done. And how.

Roskrow et al have done a fabulous job. They have made it clear that this is still very much Jackson's book, two and a half years after his death. They have written each new review in the same spare but highly evocative language of the great man, whilst leaving much of his original material intact. Jackson's introductions and his section on his beloved Macallan are left largely as they are, although the book is updated for newer bottlings (e.g. the Fine Oak range). Out go the reviews for malts long since unavailable, and in come bang up-to-date bottlings, including selected Vatted Malts, Japanese, American and European single malts. Of course, some will quibble about the whiskies included and not included and of the marks accorded, used as we are to Jim Murray's rather top heavy scoring. How, though, in such a subjective and value-laden topic is this to be avoided? As good as his books are, Jim Murray all too often lapses into relative judgements which mean nothing to the reader. The latest edition of the Malt Whisky companion avoids this by sticking to crisp and clear absolute descriptions of each whisky.

The real question is whether anyone not aware of Jackson's death (and surely there can't be many) REALLY notice that this wasn't written by him? The answer, I suggest, is no. This is a must have for any whisky buff. Well done boys, the great man would be proud.
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on 4 January 2011
The book in itself is a joy to hold and to flick through, even for those not interested in the content. Having said that, this is the definitive guide to malt whiskies and should be on the bookshelves of those who enjoy a quality tipple and want to find out more about the products. Excellent value.
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on 19 September 2014
For anyone who wants to discover more about malt whisky and perhaps to build up a collection, this book contains a fair amount of useful information about Scotland's distilleries and the various expressions which they offer. There is also a small appendix which deals with malts from other parts of the world. The introductory notes regarding the making of malt whisky are informative for those who know nothing of the process. The historical and background information which is given for each distillery is entertaining and reasonably informative given the space available. Tasting notes and scores are given for each expression but whether the scoring system is of any benefit is questionable. If you share Michael Jacksons taste buds you may find it useful, but flavour and aroma remain entirely subjective concepts. I love some of the whiskies which MJ doesn't rate too highly. The more generic descriptions regarding general style, such as "after dinner" or "aperitif", are more useful for the majority of us who don't possess the elevated faculties of professional tasters.

Keeping a book of this type up to date is an impossible task and it would be unfair to criticise it because some of the expressions that are included are no longer made. The text revisions made by the present authors have followed Michael Jackson's lyrical, entertaining and infectious style and his enthusiasm for his subject shines through, perhaps a little too much at times. The section on his favourite Macallan contains too many expressions which most of us are unlikely to see let alone afford, and romance gets the better of him when he waxes about the smuggling routes which crossed the site of the Dalwhinnie distillery. The reality is rather more mundane. It was built at Dalwhinnie simply to take advantage of the adjacent Highland railway and about 70 years after the illegal whisky trade had died out.

These criticisms are minor points which do not detract from the overall quality of the book. Michael Jackson's opinions and reputation were revered by his peers and his Malt Whisky Companion remains as one of the best guides which you are likely to find.
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on 15 April 2013
I have enjoyed the Malt Whisky Companion from its first Edition. This 6th edition has been compiled from several whisky authors after the death of the original writer, Michael Jackson. The style remained true to the spirit of the Malt Whisky companion and the layout is most pleasant, with comprehensive tasting notes. The fist part covers clearly and on a concise manner the manufacturing process.
The second and main part is on tasting notes.
Considering the huge amount of new single malt releases, the number of whiskies reviewed is now only a fraction of the malts available on the market, and thus limits mainly the use of this book on most official (distillery) bottling. For independent bottling, this book is of limited used, since the information provided does not allow to clearly identify the bottle reviewed.

In conclusion, this is a good book, but getting limited due to the large choice and rapid turnover of the whisky brands and products.
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on 27 December 2013
A useful companion when you are out in the duty free shop trying to pick up couple of bottlers of Malt. It shows the less well known brands well and the description of the malts is very good.
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on 10 September 2013
You can tell Michael Jackson was not involved in this.It has over 100 pages more than the 4th edition and is a little larger so its too heavy. Its now printed in China and the graphics just did not have the quality. I do not think Michael would have been happpy with it as I was not. Its just not the same feel.I have ordered a copy of the 5th edition as that was him I think.Often less is more.
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on 7 August 2015
I bought the 1st edition of this book years ago, and decided to see how different this version would be, after Michael Jackson had passed away, and other whisky writers took on his work. This book is still a valuable piece of information for Malt Whisky lovers, and a credit to those involved, but they will never replace the "great man" when reviewing malts.
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on 25 July 2011
This guide is worth the extra cost over cheaper alternatives.The information is personable and up to date, which is important as the industry is constantly changing, and improving.
The guide size is well thought out, as it is easy to carry around on your visits.The glossy finish adds to the quality of this edition.
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This is an outstanding compendium of all of the whisky distilled in Scotland . Very informative from how to distill whisky , locations , distillery histories to taste and gradings . I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Scotch Whisky and to those that imbibe .

K. A. Whittington FICE , FGS .
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on 26 February 2013
I use this book when I'm travelling, you see single malt whisky's on offer but you don't know anyhing about them before you buy, now I have an excellent referance book to guide me. I highly recommend this book for it's information of all whiskys and its a good read at bedtime.
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