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First published in September of 2010, whisky connoisseur and enthusiast Ian Buxton's book `101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die' is a compact book (12cm x 18.5cm) offering advice, guidance and tips on a range of important and particularly tasty whiskies that the author (who is very much in the know) has compiled. The book is not aimed at the whisky collector or those with vast wads of cash rolling around their home. Instead this is a book for everyday folk who simply enjoy a good whisky.

The range of whiskies included in the book span across the globe; from Scotland to America, Ireland, Japan, Canada and even Sweden amongst other places. The whiskies are listed in alphabetical order, each with two pages allocated to each whisky.

On the first page you have a large colour photograph of the whisky, together with the name of the producer, the location of the distillery (not applicable if it's a blend), whether or not there is a visitor centre, the general availability (e.g. specialists, supermarkets, duty free etc) and a rough guide to the price.

The pricing guide is broken into five categories. These are:
(1) Under £25, (2) £25-40, (3) £40-69, (4) £70-£150, (5) Over £150.

In his introduction, Buxton admits that absolutely no whiskies over the £1,000 barrier even had a look in during the compilation of the book (thankfully!). Around half of the whiskies included are under £40, with an overall average price (after removing the three most expensive additions from the collection) of around £56 per bottle. Not bad! Furthermore, if you're feeling a little flush all of a sudden, Buxton assures us that you should be able to pick up a bottle of each of the whiskies in his list of 101 for a total of around £7,100 (best keep that little nugget of information from the wife).

This is certainly not the definitive list of whiskies. But rather it is a list of 101 whiskies to hopefully broaden fellow whisky lovers and enthusiasts experience of this beautiful and uniquely varied spirit. There's a surprising number of blends included in the list (well I was somewhat surprised anyway) - with 21 of the whiskies being blends.

On the second page of each entry, Buxton gives the reader a brief description of the whisky and its producer, with a little background information on its history etc. Then he gives some very readable tasting notes that don't fall into the trap of being too meandering and obscure (as is so often the case with whisky tasting notes). Indeed, Buxton gives very honest, understandable, identifiable and most importantly unpretentious points on the whiskies taste, flavour and depth. No nonsense whatsoever!

Whisky is after all a subjective drink. What is one person's Holy Grail is another's dishwater (admittedly not usually on quite such an exaggerated scale). Therefore, Buxton has purposefully avoided using any scoring or ranking of the whiskies detailed in the book. Instead, he details each ones merits, their own uniqueness and where they fit in (or not) with the world of whisky.

This truly is an invaluable and thoroughly interesting book. But be warned, it does entice you to delve a little deeper, and explore a little further into the world of this fine drink (for better or for worse)!

The book runs for a total of 224 pages, which includes a five page (explanatory) introduction by Ian Buxton, a basic and down-to-earth one page `How to Taste Whisky and Use This Book', and a final page on `Where to Buy'. Finally, the book itself is a high quality hardback, with full colour glossy pages throughout.
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on 5 September 2010
Whisky writer, consultant and whisky afficionado Ian Buxton has written the desert island list of whiskies in his new book 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die. There are not many people on this planet (if any) that know more about whisky and the whisky trade. Consultant to more distillers than you can shake a nulla nulla at (funny, they call it a stick in Scotland whereas here a stick is just a boomerang that doesn't come back) Ian Buxton also instigated (and still runs) a major, annual Whisky Industry Conference and apparently bought a derelict distillery... when he was sober.

This new book is both a terrific reference and a 'journal' for anyone who is game to take up the challenge. Showing 101 whiskies with an image, description and tasting notes and facts like owner, distillery, availability, price and whether they have a visitors' centre or not. There is also a space at the bottom the description page that allows for the owners of the book to make notes as they taste their way through Ian's selections. The selections are both thorough and quirky. All the expected whiskies are there, but also some very obscure (and hard to get) examples of Ian's wide ranging experience and seasoned palate. I must admit I have tasted most of the whiskies in the book, which confirms to me that the selection is very thorough, but where the hell do you find Green Spot?

I totally concur with Ian's sentiments, and I quote: "101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die is a whiksy list with a difference. It's not an awards list. It is not a list of 101 best whiskies in the world. It is simply, as it says in the title, a guide to 101 Whiskies that enthusiasts really should seek out and try - love them or hate them - to complete their whisky educations. What's more, it's practical and realistic."

All I can say is: Sláinte!
Franz Scheurer
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on 3 October 2010
I got this book as a gift from my wife (I have only recently started to get into whisky)
It's a brilliant guide to the (sometimes overwhelming) world of whisky.
Nicely designed and clearly laid out - the individual entries are interesting, witty and full of helpful pointers. There's even space to add your own thoughts on each whisky...
I might not manage all 101 but I'm going to give it a try!
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on 5 November 2014
A good starting point for anyone interested in getting to know /getting around the world of whisky..... by the time you are even 1/3 of the way in you should have found at least the vocabulary to know why you agree -or disagree -with the suggestions given- but such is research, one won't like Everything.....!or rather there will be some a lot lees to anyone's taste tan others -n[but at least you'll knoiw why!
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on 5 September 2010
This is something fresh and new to the whisky world. No silly scores. No subjective rankings. Just details of 101 readily available (and not overly expensive) whiskies which everyone should try.

There's a colour photo of each featured whisky (to help you find it on the shop shelf), together with witty notes on the relevant distillery and expression. Ian's also included tasting notes in layman's terms.

Go buy this book. You won't be disappointed.
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on 8 February 2016
Bought this book for my husband and he is slowly working his way through the informative pages of this intriguing book on top Whiskies ... have to confess that even I have had a quick browse through it. If you enjoy a drop of whisky and want to know about the best, then this is a must book for you! Enjoy!!
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on 31 December 2015
just the right book to buy for yourself or as a present for a true whisky drinker! My wife Kt bought this for me (with a lil nudgin & a this would be a nice prezzie for xmas comment) This gives a clear & easily read description & explanation of the taste you should expect from the different whiskies, whether you can taste what you've read about a whisky is a different matter! All i know is, its going to be a good book to pick up & have a little flick thro when you're bottle at home is getting a bit low & your birthday, fathers/mothers day, xmas, new years day or any other day you can think of that deserves a present or just because you or the person you're buying for is worth it! (just hope the one you pick to try is to your taste when you get it :-)) Happy flickin, pickin and sippin! and hopefully not have to be buyin! Thanks Kt, love you lots! i'll just make sure the expensive ones i want to try are the ones you can tell our beloved son he can buy me lol!
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on 30 March 2014
This is a fascinating book that holds your interests and has a strong element of humour. It is fun finding the whiskys in the book and then writing up your comments afterwards. There is no doubt it broadens your taste for whhisky and thankfully some of the more expensivce brands are availalble in miniatures.
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The whisky world is overflowing with tasting notes and spurious aewards. This book does not seek to add to the pile. Instead, Ian Buxton has simply listed 101 interesting whiskies, together with reasons, background information and tasting notes. It is a thought provoking read and presenting the whiskies in alphabetical order makes it impossible to infer a hierarchy - on the other hand, it does make the last two or three rather less of a surprise.

I have tried most of the 101 whiskies already and agree with most of the choices - I would take issue with one or two but then where would the fun be if we all agreed all the time.

This is a nicely presented, well written book and by steering clear of rankings, ratings and one off super expensive bottlings it sills a real gap in the market.
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on 10 May 2015
This little book will suit both the beginner and the expert in the wonderful world of whisky. This nice-sized volume is well laid out, with good descriptions of the products, pictures of the bottles, a price guide, and even space to record your verdicts as you work your way through the whiskies. There is also helpful information about the producers, distilleries and whether they have a visitors' centre. I like the fact that the featured whiskies are all available commercially, thus avoiding disappointment for the reader as they go forth to try them out. This book is a nice little browser, as well as a helpfully informative guide. Whether you like single malts, or are just thinking about where to start in exploring Japanese whiskies, then this is for you. This would make a perfect gift, or a welcome addition to any library. Keep it near the drinks cabinet as it saves all the walking as you settle down to try another taste or two of the 'water of life'. Recommended.
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