While I’m expanding the information for several of the 650 entries covered in the
current edition of the lexicon, I’m also working on a list of words, phrases and
brands that were not included in the first edition - but really should have been.
Drop me a line if you found one of those, so I can add it to the next batch...
It often takes just one ‘dram’ for people to realise that malt whisky has more
to offer than many other spirits like brandy, gin, vodka - or blended whisky.
However, it usually takes a few other single malt whiskies before people start
to suspect how deep the rabbit hole goes. And then they want to learn more...
Fortunately, the Beginner’s Guide to Malt Whisky can help - at least as
long as you are in the early stages of ‘malt mania’. It offers 10 chapters with
loads of whisky wit and wisdown. The Beginner’s Guide answers questions like
‘What are the ingredients of whisky?’, ‘Does my butt look larger than your
hogshead?’ and ‘Can you taste that difference between whisky and whiskey?’.
There’s also a Whisky Label Inspector to help you decipher the labels.
Over the years the mAlmanac devolved into a sort of ‘lost & found’.
All pages and articles that didn’t really fit in any of the other site sections ended
up in the mAlmanac. So, there’s not really an overriding theme to the contents.
The mAlmanac contains a ‘Hit List’ with the best malt whiskies I’ve ever tried, but
also a ‘Shit List’ with some of the worst. The most practical of the ‘whisky lists’ is
probably the Bang-For-Your-Buck List of whiskies that offer good value.
I’ve checked many of them recently and the price/quality ratio is still OK.
But the mAlmanac contains many other lists as well...
Like a Reading List of recommendable whisky books (still useful, I guess)
and a list with the bottles in my whisky collection in 2004 (now utterly useless).
Somewhere at the top of my list of priorities is publishing an updated version
of the Industry List with the Scotch malt whisky distilleries and their owners.
Different bodies process whisky differently. One of the positive side effects of whisky (for me)
is that it gives me energy and inspiration, so a few drams are excellent fuel to keep me writing.
Granted, drinking whisky also makes me more stupid, just like everybody else - but apparently I’m
just smart enough to string together a more-or-less coherent sentence when I’m slightly drunk...
(In fact, some people have even called me ‘too smart for my own good’ when I was sober...)
So, between 1997 and 2012 I’ve been writing entries in my Liquid Log about malt whisky.
Just once a month or so at first, but more often as my ‘malt madness’ progressed to stage two.
Time flies by when you’re drunk and having fun - so in 2012 I had written 400 log entries.
That’s when I decided to take a break. By that time there were hundreds of other whisky blogs,
so I didn’t feel like my personal perspective on this or that particular whisky was indispensable.
What’s more, my liver and some other organs were beginning to show signs of protest.
The lexicon is not finished yet, but since I found a sponsor for
the overview of independent whisky bottlers I’ve ‘fast-tracked’
that particular page. Much more pages will be added shortly.
However, there will be little to see here in the immediate future.
Please move along to the whisky bottler overview - or another
part of Malt Madness where you’ll be able to find loads of other
information and opinions about single malt whisky.
So, at the time it seemed to make sense to devote a site section to Scotland.
The Distillery Data section contains profiles on all active Scotch malt whisky
distilleries, so it has well over 100 pages. Each profile contains information
about the history of the distillery, as well as ‘technical’ details like the water
source, the number of stills and even the GPS location of the still house.
There’s also an interactive map of Scotland that you can interact with...
However, the malt whisky world has changed a lot over the past two decades. They now make excellent malt whisky
in countries like India, Taiwan and Tasmania. So, I’ll need to enhance the scope of that site section in the future.
During the 1990s, virtually all malt whisky was Scotch whisky by definition.
Sure, some artisans were ‘experimenting’ in other countries, but (apart from
Japan and Ireland) those countries had no real malt whisky distilling tradition.
Ah - difficulty spelling English / Gaelic - illiteracy .
The first one is the ‘Beginner’s Guide to Single Malt Whisky’ - and it is one of the old
An ‘Advanced Beginner’s Guide’ has been in the works for a while now, but
progress has been slow. It’s much better now! Follow me on Twitter for news.
Officially, ‘lexicology’ is the part of linguistics which studies words in a language.
The field includes aspects like meaning, function and relations to other words.
This Whisky Lexicon takes a slightly different approach. For one thing, it
includes words from various languages. Most words are English or Gaelic,
but you’re going to find a few French and Latin phrases in there as well.
What’s more, the Whisky Lexicon includes names of people and places too.
Phase 1 of the lexicon includes (at least) a brief definition for each of the 650 entries.
Those brief descriptions can be found on the 24 ‘alphabetical’ pages that can be reached
through the horizontal line of letters at the top of each page in the lexicon. The same goes
for the slightly more expansive ‘snippets’ of a few paragraphs on a number of topics.
Pretty soon after I started making a list of ‘whisky words’ it became clear to me that this project
would take me a LOT of time - especially because the technical foundation of MM is ancient.
So, by the time the the list had grown to more than 600 words I decided to get to work on
that list and reserve most of the fresh words, phrases and names for phase 2 of the project.
That phase will include a proper search function - but this is still more of a ‘directory’.
The Lexicon is more like a dictionary - and just like in the old Yellow Pages you will have to
browse to the right LETTER before you can zoom in on the WORD that you are looking for.
I hope the quality of the information compensates for the inconvenience...
(By the way, I already learned something new since I started writing this page. As it turns out,
I should have called it ‘Lexicography’ instead - but I just couldn’t be bothered to change it.)
I intend to keep adding information to the Whisky Lexicon in the foreseeable future.
Did you look for the meaning of a specific word, phrase or name that isn’t included here?
Please let me know so that I can add a fresh entry to this glossary of whisky words - and
feel free to present your case if you feel that I didn’t present something accurately.