Whether served neat, on the rocks, or stirred into a cocktail, whiskey is often praised as the finest spirit in the world. On paper it might sound like a simple concoction—water and grain, fermented by yeast, then aged in a wood cask—but whiskey is about so much more than its physical ingredients. During the middle ages, Europeans called it aqua vitae, or “water of life,” a name that speaks to the cultural, social, and historical significance that this spirit holds.
In The Impossible Collection of Whiskey, bestselling spirits writer Clay Risen unpacks the history of this storied drink, inviting the reader to tour some of the world’s most famed distilleries and their finest bottles. From the best Scotch of the Scottish Highlands to Kentucky’s finest Bourbon, Risen’s selection of 100 unparalleled whiskeys come from age-old makers as well as trailblazers of the craft distilling movement that has swept across the globe. Here are whiskeys selected not only for their exquisite flavor but also for rarity, age, flavor, and innovation. Bottles from countries with nascent whiskey markets, such as India and the Czech Republic, sit beside old American classics like Pappy Van Winkle and some of the rarest, most coveted bottles on the market. Risen marvels at bottles like Ireland’s Midleton Very Rare 45 Year Old, the oldest, most expensive Irish whiskey in the world. Together, these 100 bottles comprise a collection of whiskeys so exclusive that no one could ever assemble them all under one roof. A must-have for the library of any true whiskey connoisseur, The Impossible Collection of Whiskey is a carefully crafted homage to a liquor long revered as the “water of life.”
Presented in a wrought-iron trimmed wood box modeled after an authentic whiskey barrel, this addition to Assouline’s bestselling Impossible Collection may very well be its most outstanding volume published to date.