Big Whiskey: Kentucky Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey, the Rebirth of Rye and the Distilleries of America’s Premier Spirits Region

Carlo DeVito, with Richard Thomas and Emily West. Cider Mill, $29.95 (480p) ISBN 978-1-60433-776-1
A former publishing executive, DeVito takes a deep dive into the spirit in this dazzling study, offering profiles of distilleries like Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Ky. (home to Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, and the Parker’s Heritage lines), as well as craft distilleries and some of the key players who make bourbon such an intoxicating subject, such as Chris Morris of Woodford Reserve and Jim Beam’s Booker Noe. Readers expecting bottle-by-bottle ratings and rankings won’t find that, as DeVito acts more as a tour guide and historian than purveyor, but the book is filled with enough recommendations for bottles and bars, barroom trivia and arguments (can Tennessee whiskey be classified as bourbon?) to keep the conversation going until the wee hours. If the book has a flaw, it’s the small type. Those who can muscle though are bound to appreciate DeVito’s clear love for the topic and informative entries, not to mention the book’s reverential portraits of its subject, the terroir, and the men and women behind some of the best bottles on the market. This is an entertaining accompaniment to a healthy pour and a nice cigar. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2018
Release date: 04/24/2018
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