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  • Alistair Braidwood

Whisky Words: A Review Of Iain Hector Ross’s The Whisky Dictionary…


If you believe the supermarkets, it’s already time to be thinking about Christmas. While this is clearly nonsense there is no harm in giving you a heads up about a book which is made for gifting to those for whom a well-chosen bottle has previously been the only sensible choice.

Iain Hector Ross’s The Whisky Dictionary is the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys a dram or two. Whisky has the reputation of being the drink of choice of the obsessive, (despite a strong challenge from gin and beer in recent years). As with vinyl or first edition collectors, whisky enthusiasts are often willing to spend more than they can afford on a rare item, and they have a language all of their own to talk about it. A group of whisky fanatics will evangelise into the wee small hours about peat, sherry casks and single malts – or at least until the bottle runs out.

Ross knows that of which he writes, and his dictionary informs, educates and thoroughly entertains as he explains both the science and the mythology of Scotland’s national drink. He also demonstrates what a rich language has grown around whisky, its production, and its consumption. If you want to know the difference between a ‘swig’ and a ‘swirl’, ‘heart’ and ‘head’, ‘glug’ and ‘glamp’ or a ‘sook’ and a ‘sowp’, the answers are here for you.

You will also find out where the terms ‘monkey shoulder’, ‘Devil’s cut’ and ‘quaich’ come from, and so much more. So, if you are partial to a wee ‘glammie’, have found yourself ‘frisky’, or have perhaps even been ‘mortal-fou’, (although hopefully never ‘bitch-fou’), or know someone who this applies to, then The Whisky Dictionary is just perfect. Slàinte.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Ben Averis, who has previously worked with publishers Sandstone Press on The Rainforests of Britain and Ireland: A Travellers Guide by Clifton Bain.

The Whisky Dictionary is published by Sandstone Press.


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