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on 4 September 2013
Do you love Islay whisky and want to know more about the distilleries and the context of the island? This is the book to read. A lot of information, well researched with lots of details, so not a quick read. Good thing it's very well written.

Every distillery open at the time of writing is reviewed in detail. The chapters on the distilleries are intersected with chapters on all others aspects of the island, making for anything but a monotonous reading experience.

I read the book after a two day visit to Islay, visiting 4 distilleries in that short time. It felt like repeating the visit but staying much longer. After the last page I felt I knew the place like home...
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on 20 November 2014
This is a wonderfully detailed book in terms of the bigger picture of Islay and its Whiskies. This is not a 'dip in and out' book or perhaps as anecdotal or humourous as others on the subject but there are plenty of those around. There is a gentle humour runs through this book which is texturally rich in portraying the history of the land, its people, its flora and its fauna all interleaved with a whole chapter dedicated to each of the Isle's distilleries. Andrew Jefford has clearly spent a great deal of time (lucky for some!) researching and getting to know each of the distilleries and its people. Each dedicated chapter manages to capture the individuality of each distillery and has plenty of facts, a few secrets and lots of stats to please those who take delight in knowing such things as 'how many thousand gallons are used and at what temperature in a second wash'! Fascinating to some but for me Whisky is all about the smell, the taste and the whole experience, and AJ is both lucid and imaginative in his descriptions of all. The writer succeeds in getting across the passion and dedication of those striving for perfection in the industry and presents a compelling case for both visiting Islay and tasting all the Whiskies it has to offer. Overall a quite detailed book, very informative and instructive yet at the same time passionate and inspriring. Oh to be 'Westering home' once more.
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on 9 March 2014
I've never been to Islay before but have always loved its whiskies. This beautifully written, wise and heartfelt book has made me want to visit the island as a matter of urgency - the last week has been spent looking at accommodation and transport websites. There can surely be no better recommendation for this genre-hopping, meticulously researched guide to Islay's whiskies, history and people.
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on 1 May 2016
A brillian book. The sections on walking the distilleries and Chapter 2 A word or two about whisky, are a brilliant education for anyone interested in the whole process from stat to finish. The differences in the balance, complexity and character of all the ISLAY whiskies is explained in meticulous detail. Even the glossary is an education and a great reference source. I have read the book twice and find it fascinating. If a reader is less interested in the island itself then these chapters can be skimmed, but the information on how each whisky is produced is brilliant.
A fabulous buy and tremendous value for money.
Can easily be used as a reference book since much of the information pertains to the production process of any Scotch malt whisky.
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on 9 March 2013
Bought as present for friend who is going to Islay this summer. She is very happy says it is a good read and very informative. Will be trying a few drams out when she gets there.
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on 1 February 2013
making people write long reviews on ggod they receive is in my opinion expecting a lot. surely just a simple word comment is enough??
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on 16 February 2015
Tremendous reading.Very well written. A must for lovers of Islay ( and its malts ).
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on 26 June 2013
I read this before going to Islay for distillery tours and... well, mostly distillery tours.
The book deepened my appreciation of the island and of whiskey.
It's full of delightful stories, people and drams.

If you love whiskey get this book.
If you just like whiskey, get this book and learn to love it.
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on 8 December 2014
Surprisingly entertaining for what is in essence a factual book.
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on 19 January 2010
I bought this book for my HUsband as part of his Christmas and as we had been to Islay last year and visited all the distilleries there he thoroughly enjoyed reading a more indepth look at them
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