Whisky Dream Book Review by brian palmer

I like a book to have a happy ending, and consequently, it’s nice for the review to live in the same way, so let’s get the bad stuff out the way first. An Ileach is an Islay person, born on the island; The Ileach is the local newspaper, and the people of Islay are collectively referred to as the Ilich. Ileachs would almost be OK, but would be grammatically incorrect in this context. Caol Ila distillery is not spelt with an ‘s’, and the phonetic pronunciation of uisge beatha is most definitely not ‘wisheker-vahr’. Nor in fact, is the phonetic pronunciation of Bruichladdich, Brook-laddie. Superficial complaints perhaps, but incessantly irritating nonetheless; a brief degree of checking would not have gone amiss.

The story of the resurrection of Bruichladdich distillery from a mothballed state in the late 1990s is truly an excellent story to be told, but I’m not sure that Mr Rivens is the ideal person to have done so. Much of the content is based on interviews with senior directors and employees of the company, and there seems to have been little critical assessment applied, and a touch too much melodrama. For example 'Getting to that stage, however, involved months of sweat, tears and near-exhaustion on the part of the Bruichladdich team’ seems to be rather over-egging the pudding. On the plus side, the story is colourfully told in an easy to read and flowing style illustrated with photos by Stuart Greig and foreward by Lord Robertson of Port Ellen. Continue reading.....It was mentioned in passing that it was a shame to have a photograph of the Port Charlotte Loch Indaal Distillery staff of 1900 and not one of the substantial workforce employed there today. Present day photos extend only to the company directors. The book covers the last minute financial drama of purchasing the distillery, the well publicised 'Whisky of Mass Destruction' and the consequent notion to re-construct the Loch Indaal Distillery in Port Charlotte. Unfortunately the realities of bureaucratic intervention are set to trip the eager author, and Mr Riven’s hope that the Port Charlotte Distillery would open in May of 2009, have been nullified. We are advised that the timescale may have crept well into 2010. The book is also a fine tribute to the Ilich who are deemed to have provided as much help as the professionals in reconstituting what is surely one of the finest stories in modern day whisky distilling, as well as a company at the vanguard of helping revolutionise this age-old industry. Whisky Dream is available for £9.99 from Roys Celtic House and other good bookstores such as Amazon

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