Writing is a wonderful thing. But, as with the apocryphal ‘tree in the woods’, if no one reads your words, have you really written anything at all?
When, in 2008 we decided to start Caskstrength.net, it was to create a journal wherein we could keep a record of all the whiskies which had been shared with us, and we were sharing with other people... little did we know of the journey that it would take us on. The blog was not designed for mass readership nor praise, but a simple account of the joys of whisky, wrapped up in some irreverent ramblings.
As we approach our 8th year of writing this blog, we are constantly humbled by the figures we see when we check our stats. To have a monthly readership which would fill every seat at Old Trafford and still leave queues outside is always mind-boggling, and makes us want to dedicate our entire time to writing posts.
However, the rigours of everyday life always get in the way and, being self-employed and full-time in the drinks business, writing our blog (which carries no advertising and therefore no income) can often slip down the priority list, in favour of actual, real work.
But writing is very much in our veins (along with a sizeable proportion of alcohol too, usually...) and about 18 months ago we decided we wanted to write a book dedicated to the wider world of distilled drinks. After working up a concept we were commission by Octopus Books to start writing, and it gave us a wonderful opportunity to explore and visit some of the world’s finest spirits producers.
As a result we are pleased to announce that today is the official publication date of our new book, ‘Distilled’, a guided tour around the wonderful world of spirits.
Broken down into chapters on gin, vodka, tequila & mezcal, rum, brandy, whisky and a host of other spirits, the book is akin to a Lonely Planet Guide: think of distilled spirits as a city, and the different styles as the suburbs. The book gives a history of each of the different suburbs, as well as an idea of the production values involved. It references some of the major brands in the overviews, but focuses on smaller, undiscovered producers. Each section comes with an interview (or two) with a ‘maverick’, someone making interesting expressions of their chosen distillate, and a ’10 To Try...’ of unusual offerings from that category. Oh, there are also a few nice cocktails in there to make as well.
Out on MitchellBeazley, the fab publisher which also releases Dave Broom’s wonderful books, you’ll get change from fifteen quid in the UK for a copy, and you can buy it:
or simply head down to your local book shop where you should find it in stock. If you’re outside the UK, you can still order it from your local webstore, and do look out for it in the shops too as different territories have different release dates.
But we couldn’t leave it there. We like to try and do things a little differently here at Caskstrength.net so in the lead up to the release of the book, we made some short videos (very short...) of the magic of making drinks. From grain magically appearing as liquid in the glass, to ‘three click cocktails’, you can check out the videos here, with an example of one (magic maturation) below:
All that remains for us to say is ‘thank you’. If no one reads these posts, we might have well not have written them. And if no one reads our book, then the tree which fell in the forest to make it, might as well have not have bothered making all that noise. We hope you enjoy reading Distilled as much as we enjoyed writing it.
Joel & Neil