Category Archives: Books

Drunk In China, Derek Sandhaus

Everything you need to know about Baijiu – and then more – in one highly entertaining & informative publication.

Book & Baijiu c/othewhiskeynut

Derek takes you on a journey of discovery into Baijiu – the World’s most popular spirit.

A journey exploring the history, culture, politics, economics & most importantly for drinkers – the taste of this alluring white spirit.

A great read! & the Baijiu’s pretty cool too! c/othewhiskeynut

If you’ve never tried Baijiu – isn’t it about time?

Pour yourself a glass – preferably paired with this insightful book – & sit back to ponder the wonders of Baijiu.

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The Greatest Beer Run Ever, John ‘Chick’ Donohue & JT Molloy.

Hey!

Let’s deliver some beer to our buddies!

Sounds like a good plan.

There’s just the minor inconvenience of these buddies fighting a war in Vietnam – but the plan hatched in a New York bar grows legs.

The Book, The Beer, The Movie? c/othewhiskeynut

The Greatest Beer Run Ever is a mad cap adventure only the young or foolish would contemplate.

Written years after the event it’ s full of humanity – both brutal and kind – as well as reflections of a life well lived.

Sit back, pour yourself a beer & enjoy the ride!

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Bacardi, The Hidden War, Hernando Calvo Ospina.

Every brand has to have a good story – but I’m not sure the one told in the pages of this compelling book will feature on the back of Bacardi labels.

Bacardi the book c/othewhiskeynut

Essentially it’s a well documented exposé of the Bacardi family’s consistent attempts – ever since the Cuban revolution of 1959 – to undermine, weaken & generally destabilise the Cuban regime.

A lot of it can be put down to big multinationals protecting their profits over and above any rules individual states may have.

Bacardi the rum c/othewhiskeynut

Some could be political ideology.

But it doesn’t particularly paint a pretty picture.

Events took a turn in 1993 when Pernod Ricard entered a joint venture with Cuban company Havana Rum & Liquors to produce & market the Havana Club range of Cuban rums – to great success.

Havana Club rum c/othewhiskeynut

Bacardi have consistently challenged the right of Pernod Ricard to do so.

Bacardi often drape their advertising in Cuban imagery – despite the rums not being made in the country – & there have been claims to say this is misleading & manipulative.

Cuban rum authenticity c/othewhiskeynut

In these times when ‘transparency’ & ‘honesty’ are attributes to be exalted in the spirits world – I’d suggest pouring your preferred tipple & sitting down to read this riveting book.

It may not change the flavour of that tipple – but it might colour the experience.

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Johnnie Walker, Irish Whiskey & The Coffey Still.

The iconic ‘Striding Man’ logo gracing bottles of Johnnie Walker Whisky is an apt inspiration for the title of this very highly researched & entertaining book by Nicholas Morgan.

A Striding Man c/othewhiskeynut

Boldly striding across the centuries Johnnie Walker has witnessed many ups & downs as well as twists & turns within the whisky industry.

Originating in 1820 from a Kilmarnock grocers shop specializing in blending tea, Johnnie Walker went on to take full advantage of the Coffey Still to blend whisky.

The book, the whisky & the glass. c/othewhiskeynut

By 1878 the business was expanding massively to cater for demand while both the Highland Malt & the big 4 Dublin Whisky Distilleries mounted a campaign to prevent ‘silent spirit’ being labelled as whisky.

Truths About Whiskey 1878 c/othewhiskeynut

By 1890 Scotch was outselling Irish – up until then the biggest & most reputable whisky sold worldwide – and has done so ever since.

The book chronicles that period of growth for Scotch – blended whisky in particular – as well as many other escapades the Striding Man encountered along the way

A Long Stride is a wonderful read for anyone wishing to grasp the historical complexities & choices made by previous generations that currently shape the whisky industry today.

A rollercoaster of a read. c/othewhiskeynut

It certainly makes me ponder how decisions being made now – often echoing those of the past – will shape the future.

Whatever tomorrow brings the Striding Man – & latterly Striding Woman – will certainly be found playing a key role.

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Peaky Blinders, The real story of Birmingham’s most notorious gangs. Carl Chinn.

The popularity of the Peaky Blinders show continues to enthrall viewers with the much anticipated last series – and talk of a film too!

Peaky Blinder book c/othewhiskeynut

This very well researched & easily readable book traces the origins of the Peaky Blinders – or rather peaky blinders – a generic term attributed to street thugs operating in Birmingham from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

As in a lot of popular culture – the facts paint a different picture to the highly stylised fictional tales of the Shelby family.

Those looking for historical authenticity would do well to read this book – it doesn’t preclude you from enjoying the show – & may even add to the experience.

Another way of heightening the enjoyment might be pouring a glass of Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey!

Peaky Blinder Irish Whiskey – Product Of Ireland c/othewhiskyexchange

Halewood International have played a – ahem – blinder in releasing a range of spirits to accompany the success of the show.

New bottles c/obetterretailing

So much so they’ve announced the building of a new distillery in Birmingham to satisfy the demand!

Fact, fiction & reality all wrapped up in one!

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Rum, The Epic Story Of The Drink That Conquered The World, Charles A Coulombe

Rum – the spirit that spanned the globe.

The depth, spread, longevity & diversity of rum through all it’s manifestations is chronicled in this entertaining book – along with cocktail recipes if you wish to indulge.

A book on Rum & a bottle of Rum c/othewhiskeynut

From the days of slavery, pirates & colonial might – to the globalization of rum brands today – and all points in between.

Why Cuban rum is not available in the US to how Haiti is still an undeveloped nation.

Clairin to CachaçaDemerara to dunder – it’s in here – along with an intriguing Newfoundland variation – Screech.

Politics, plunder, prohibition & popular music – rum has been central to them all.

Read all about Rum c/othewhiskeynut

Pour yourself a glass, sit down & enjoy the story.

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The Box, Marc Levinson

Writing a blog about a book charting the rise of container shipping from a small, local idea, into the global phenomena it is today might prompt you to ask;

“What has it to do with whiskey?”

The Box & Scotch c/othewhiskeynut

A lot as it happens.

There was tonnes of well researched data, information, anecdotes & analysis in this highly readable publication. Having spent a lifetime in transportation – familiar places, ports, methods of movement & company names inhabited every chapter.

Whiskey didn’t actually feature until page 165 – but what a nugget!

Establishing the first fully containerised shipping routes in 1966 between the US & Europe – a certain commodity was carried.

“Among Sea-Land’s first ports of call was Grangemouth, in Scotland, where it picked up Scotch Whisky.”

That one sentence crytalises the divergent paths Scotch & Irish took.

The container box was a disruptive technology – if you can call a rectangular steel box technology.

Disruptive technology c/othewhiskeynut

In the whiskey world a certain copper column was the disruptor – the Coffey Still.

The Scot’s ran with the new technology & with it built the capacity & sales to export in bulk – globally.

The Irish didn’t – & by 1966 were struggling.

It wasn’t until 1975 with the opening of New Midleton Distilleryand it’s Coffey Stills – that Irish Whiskey began to turn a corner.

The Box c/othewhiskeynut

But there’s another potential disruptor about – accelerated ageing.

Does it have the capability of doing for whiskey what the box did to shipping?

Only time will tell.

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My thanks to Marc Levinson for the use of the quote from page 165 of The Box.

That S*it Will Never Sell! David Gluckman

As much passion, creativity & hard work goes into building a brand that sells big – Baileys – as to one that doesn’t – Kenya Cane anyone?

This attractively presented book delves into the often hidden world of a drinks & brand innovator.

Front c/othewhiskeynut

Clearly the author relished his work. Passion shines through in the pages of this highly entertaining & engaging publication.

In my travels I’ve fortunately encountered some of the brands featured – the aforementioned Baileys – to it’s lesser known Baileys The Whiskey.

Bailey’s The Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

And there were a few others I’d have been tempted to try – Stubbs White Rum?

When branding is often more about perception than product, the author stresses the liquid must always match the narrative.

Back c/othewhiskeynut

I’ve pictured the book with Proper Twelve. It’s been a runaway success that many scoffed. The whiskey inside is every bit as good as the story.

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Mr Atkinson’s Rum Contract, Richard Atkinson

I found this book a compelling read.

Some rum for Mr Atkinson? c/othewhiskeynut

Ostensibly tracing the failures & fortunes of one family across the generations – it also captures the ups & downs of the British Empire through the involvement of that same family.

In doing so it details the centrality of the slave trade to British prosperity – the wars fought to maintain that wealth – and the role Rum played in holding it all together.

In the 18th Century Britain ruled the waves.

It’s ships exported manufactured goods, captured slaves from Africa to work the colonies in the Caribbean & N America & imported rum, sugar, coffee, cotton & tobacco from the exploitation of those slaves.

It made Britain – and all the other European powers involved – extremely rich.

The sailors on those ships were given a daily rum ration – not abolished until the 1970’s – and members of the authors family were central in procuring some of that rum – as well as overseeing the Jamaican colony where a lot of it came from.

A compelling read c/othewhiskeynut

The book is a fascinating insight into a dark period of human history where the complete subjugation & exploitation of one people for the unsustainable profits of another was deemed ‘good business’.

I just hope the rum I enjoyed while reading this book came about by a much more sustainable & equitable manner.

A highly recommended read that brings to life the horrors of the past & sheds some light on today’s travails.

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Tequila Oil, Getting Lost In Mexico, Hugh Thomson

Tequila – along with it’s agave stablemate Mezcal – features in this adventurous tale of a teenager traversing Mexico in a car – purchased in Texas – with the goal of selling it in Belize & thereby funding the trip.

There are many twists & turns along the way.

Get lost in a book! c/othewhiskeynut

Tequila Oil is actually a cocktail.

The author used it to cement business deals – as recommended by the bank he worked for in Mexico City.

The ingredients are;

Tequila

Tomatoe Juice

Habanero Chilli Sauce

Maggie Liquid Seasoning

Mix together to form a black oily consistency.

Garaunteed to blow your head!

I didn’t try it personally – but then I’m not seeking a bank loan in Mexico!

A terrific travel book!

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