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Father's Day Book, Food & Drink
Publication Date
05 July 2018
Hardback (also available as an eBook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd
20 x colour illustrations


The first, definitive book on Whisky

with an appreciation by Ian Buxton

by Aeneas MacDonald & Ian Buxton - Find out more about the author


eBook also available from the iBookstore

‘A highly entertaining read: personal and opinionated, and providing a valuable insight into the Scotch whisky industry…’  –

'Among the generous pour of publishings to please whisky fans, one stand-out is a long-awaited new edition of Whisky by Aeneas MacDonald ... [h]is literary musings on matters of malt and more, first published in 1930, are widely hailed as among the best writing on the subject. The new edition features period illustrations and an appreciation by writer Ian Buxton, who was instrumental in bringing the book to the masses’ – The Herald

'This slim little volume is a glorious polemic, and today’s readers are helped enormously by the introduction and text annotations offered by spirits scribe Ian Buxton who deploys his pen as scalpel, exposing both the unfortunate innards of the original author and cutting to the chase’ –

‘The finest whisky book ever’ – Dave Broom

'an absolute triumph… Aeneas MacDonald's original text emerges as a superbly-written celebration of whisky… Many, many books have been written about whisky since Aeneas MacDonald first sat down at his typewriter. It is nice to be able to conclude, thanks to the efforts of Birlinn and of Ian Buxton, that one of the first books on the subject remains one of the best' – Undiscovered Scotland
‘If I could take only one whisky book to a desert island it would be Aeneas MacDonald’s Whisky’ – Charles MacLean
‘This is a small volume but there are plenty who will love it. It is airy, witty, full of sound knowledge and practical wisdom’ – The New York Times  

'Original copies of ‘Whisky’, Aeneas MacDonald’s 1930 book, now change hands for hundreds of pounds, so it’s canny publishing to release a new edition in time for Christmas. MacDonald, the pseudonym of journalist George Malcolm, was one of the first writers to bring an amateur’s eye to what had previously been a dry, technical subject. He was not an expert, and part of the joy of this new edition is Ian Buxton’s humorous commentary correcting him. In fact, it can be read as a good-natured argument between two greats of whisky writing' – Guardian

This is – in the opinion of many whisky writers and experts – the finest whisky book ever written. It is certainly the first written from the point of view of the consumer and is thus historically significant. But more than that, poetic and polemic in style and with its emphasis on the importance of single malt whisky and its concern to protect and inform the consumer, it remains fresh and relevant to the interests of today’s whisky drinker. It is a remarkably prophetic book, and with Ian Buxton’s shrewd commentary and analysis, combined for the first time with period illustrations, it is brought bang up to date for today’s generations of whisky aficionados.

Aeneas MacDonald was the pseudonym under which noted author and journalist George Malcolm Thomson OBE wrote his one legendary book on the subject of whisky. He was also one of the founders of Porpoise Press. He died in 1996.

Ian Buxton has been working in and around the whisky industry for close to 30 years, but has been drinking professionally for a good deal longer. He began writing regularly for Whisky Magazine shortly after it launched, and now also writes in a variety of trade and consumer titles here and abroad. He has published a number of books, including the bestselling101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die.

Click the link to hear Ian Buxton being interviewed on Whisky Cast

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