Book Reviews

Book Review: Scotch The Whisky of Scotland in Fact and Story.


Numerous books have been written and published on Scotch whisky. Most deal with technical matters, packaging, distribution, marketing, and consumption.

Scotch is written by an insider who loves the “water of life” that in Celtic is spelled uisge beatha. It represents a time capsule of Scotland to which only his, and the next generation can fully relate. The present generation is far removed from the romance and history of Scotland and its important export product – whisky.

The book evokes common experience, hard work, adversity, and how faith, loyalty and enjoyment have contributed to its success worldwide.

He writes about Thomas Dewar, John Haig, Alexander and john Walker, and William Grant, whisky giants, legends, and important contributors to the modern Scotch whisky.

Sir Lockhart chronicles the times of repression ad taxation when Scots hid their portable stills in the highlands and smuggled whisky all over the country.

English were latecomers to whisky consumption and enjoyment, and it took enormous efforts to get them to appreciate the qualities of this noble and unique spirit.

His chapter on the American Prohibition explains how it affected Scotch whisky exports, encouraged smuggling, and made a few illicit middlemen enormously rich. A few governments also benefited from the trade of illicit whisky.

Prohibition did not stop consumption in the USA as the law poorly designed, and enforced with woefully inadequate number of inspectors.

Practically every major big city hotel offered spirits in ingenious ways, not to speak of “speak easies” in New York City and elsewhere.

He relates his personal experiences in the USA during this time, and which tell the sad story.

This is a book for every Scotch lover and political junky to read, and cherish, and understand how politicians can commit errors of such magnitude.

Highly recommended.

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