Categories: life

Book: Michael Jackson's Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch

  • Read: January 2013
  • Rating: 8.5/10

Michael Jackson’s Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch by Michael Jackson is a must-have for any person who enjoys (Whisky|Whiskey). The book offers Michael Jackson’s (not the singer) personal tasting notes from hundreds of different Single Malts, and a few other whiskeys from around the world. It has a good introduction on: why malts, the origins of malt whisky, how they’re named, the flavors, regional variation, age, wood, owners, distillers, and bottlers.

Though the 6th edition of the book was published after Michael Jackson passed away, 1/3rd of it was written from Michael’s original notes, and newer whiskys reviews were written by a team of three who kept in tradition with Michael’s style.

My notes

Why Malts?

  • The flavor
  • The individuality
  • The moment
  • The meal
  • The exploration
  • The distilleries
  • The visit
  • The connoisseur
  • The collector

The words usen on the Label

  • Malt
  • Whisk(e)y
  • Malt Whisky
  • Single Malt Whisky
  • Scotch Whisky
  • Singl Malt Scotch Whisky
  • Single Cask
  • Vatted Malt
  • Blended Malt
  • Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Grain Whisky
  • Single Grain Whisky
  • Peating
  • Double/Triple Distillation
  • Bourbon Aging
  • Sherring Aging
  • Cask Strength
  • Unchillfiltered


Terroir, rock, snow, water, peat, heather, barley, seaweed, distillery

Regional Variations

  • The Lowlands
  • The Highlands: The Eastern Highlands, Speyside, The Northern Highlands, Western Highlands
  • The Islands: Orkney, Skye, Mull, Jura, Islay, Arran
  • Campbeltown

Perfect Age

Impossible decision

Perfect Wood

  • Oak and flavor, variety of oak
  • Butts, barrels, or hogshead
  • What happens during aging
  • Light, medium, or alligator

Owners, distillers, and bottlers

Diageo, Chivas Brothers, Beam Global, The Edrington Group, Dewar’s, Inver House, Whyte and Mackay, William Grant & Sons, Burn Stewart, Morrison Bowmore, Glenmorangie, Ben Nevis, Tomatin, others… (many bottlers who own distilleries as well as independents)

The A-Z of Single Malts

A ton of different tasting notes for a variety of single malts. Includes the “house style” for each label, as well as Color, Nose, Body, Palate, and Finish for each individual Single Malt.