Peat Smoke and Spirit: The Story of Islay and Its Whiskies
Peat Smoke and Spirit: The Story of Islay and Its Whiskies by Andrew Jefford (ISBN 978-0747227359)
Book focusing on the history of Islay Scotch whisky.
Andrew Jefford's book 'Peat Smoke and Spirit' is the most comprehensive account of Islay and its whiskies to appear to date. Published back in 2004 following two years of island-based, almost forensic inquiry, it successfully weds elegant prose and meticulous research to the inquiring mind of the investigative journalist.
The book is unusually constructed in that it essentially alternates chapters on Islay's history with a chapter on each of the seven distilleries that were in production at that time (baby Kilchoman was still just a twinkle back then). While a historical work, it is also a snapshot of a particular moment, a 'portrait', the writer vividly bringing the island characters to life and successfully portraying the strong sense of community. As such, its pages are populated with real people, people who will be recognized by the thousands who have visited the island over the years and been fortunate enough to come into contact with those who contribute to its DNA.