A Small Batch of Spirited Ideas
A collection of philosophical essays (20, to be exact) this book is an interesting, if uneven, read. A few of the essays are gems, a few more are interesting, and the rest are forgettable. In true academic style, many of the essays are footnoted to within an inch of their lives.
The book is divided into 5 sections.
I: The History and Culture of Whiskey
II: The Beauty and Experience of Whiskey
III: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Whiskey
IV: Ethics and Whiskey
V: Whiskey: A Sense of Place
Some read like an undergrad philosophy student’s whipping out an essay the night before it’s due, quoting Hume pointlessly just so a footnote can be added.
A few essays are, however, well thought-out and engaging, especially the first three essays. This leads to a false sense of security as the quality drops off quickly, although my favorite title comes from essay #19 on Japanese Whisky: “It’s called Queen George, and it’s More Bitched Up Than Its Name.” It is an interesting and colorful title for a discussion on the progression of Japanese whisky from a cheap (and quite possibly dangerous) knockoff alcohol to a world-class spirit.
In the end, it’s like a box of chocolates. Some essays are great, some are good, most are just so-so with a few simply atrocious.
I recommend getting this book despite its uneven delivery. The few gems are worth the price of admission.