The classic celebration of malt whisky and its creators
“One of the most important Scottish writers of the twentieth century”
‘Times Literary Supplement’
“Neil Gunn has given us a wonderful body of work – greater than Gibbon’s and therefore the greatest achievement of its kind in modern Scottish literature, and since Walter Scott”
This witty, erudite and often lyrical toast to uisgebeatha, the Celts’ ‘water of life’, takes us back into the mists of time when some happy man chanced upon the technique of producing a distillation from barley that rivalled the mead of the gods. But it is also a lament for the days when every self-respecting Highlander had his own pot still as of right.
Good malt whisky, brewed and distilled in the time-honoured way, excites the same appreciation as fine wine, and there could be no more discerning guide than Neil M. Gunn, a native of Caithness and one of Scotland’s leading twentieth-century novelists.
Whisky and Scotland describes in loving detail the traditional techniques, still used today, whereby barley grains become an amber spirit unequalled in the world. For a purist, Scotland’s own barley gives the finest results, ‘communicating a soft maturing excellence’, and no water can compare with that which has flowed off the peat, imparting a subtle flavour that survives years in the cask. True connoisseurs can identify the products of individual distilleries, for each derives its own distinctive character from the surrounding soil and water.
A classic since its original publication, Whisky and Scotland reads as freshly and relevantly as it did then. Good single whiskies can still be found by the searcher, and the fire of Scottish national pride burns as brightly as ever. This new edition, with decorative drawings by Fred Van Deelen based on archive photographs, will enlighten and entertain all who share the author’s delight in a brew that recalls ‘the world of hills and glens, of raging elements, of shelter, of divine ease.’