Book Review

Book Review – 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die by Ian Buxton


“46 whiskies down, and only 55 to go!” – G-LO

I first heard about this book while listening to an interview with the author on WhiskyCast. What interested me in the book was Ian Buxton’s mission when he set out to write 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die. This is not a book about the most exclusive or most expensive whiskies in the world (half of the whiskies on the list cost less than $65, and most of them are readily available worldwide). It is a list of whiskies that includes his personal favorites, those that have been highly rated by his peers (i.e. Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskies Awards, the International Wine & Spirits Competition, Malt Maniacs award winners, etc.), and those that have been recommended by his friends. Per the inside cover:

“The book cuts through the clutter, decodes the marketing hype, and gets straight to the point; whether from India or America, Sweden or Ireland, Japan or the hills, glens, and islands of Scotland, here are the 101 whiskies that you really want to taste.”

After a brief introduction, the author gets right down to business. 101 whiskies from around the world, listed in alphabetical order, with no scores, a brief bit of distillery history, a word about visiting the distilleries, and finally, the authors tasting notes for each whisky.

What I really enjoyed about the book was the author’s complete lack of pretension. While the author has found some merit in every whisky that made the list, he clearly states that he is not a big fan of all of them. Ian Buxton is not particularly fond of big, peaty whiskies like those from Ardbeg or Laphroaig, but he acknowledges that alot of people do like them, and that if you’re looking for a big, smoky, and powerful dram of whisky, then this is what you should be drinking.

101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die was a fun and informative read, and I will refer to it often when it comes time to restock the whisky cabinet. Whether you’re a whisky lover, or just someone that wants to learn more about whisky, I recommend picking up a copy. At under $15, it’s cheaper than a glass of fine whisky at your favorite restaurant, and I’m sure that it will leave you very, very thirsty. Personally, I’m parched!

9 replies »

  1. 45 out of 101? You have to have sampled more than 45. LimpD has that many hidden in his china cabinet and Miracle Max keeps that many in his portable bar.


    • I went through the book twice. Only 45 out of 101.

      As far as total whiskies sampled in a lifetime, I had to have had at least 100. If we look at the Johnnie Walker range alone, I’ve had 4 that didn’t make the book (Red, Green, Gold, and Blue). And then there’s all the average bourbons and scotches.


      • Then for the love of whisky get to work man! I expect you to be in the 70-80 range by year end. Your liver will just have to put in some overtime!


  2. Does the book come with a pocket check list so my kids know what to bring to the hospital when I am on my death bed??

    “Quick, Daddy needs a sip of that Nikka 1990 Single Cask Miyagikyo Whiskey so he can die fulfilled! Sip. Mmmm, smooth.”

    ….. beeeeeeeep!…..


    ….. Shock …..

    “I am back. Now pour Daddy some Glenlivet 25 and ask the nurses for some ice.”


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