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Whiskey Women

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  197 ratings  ·  41 reviews

Shortly after graduating from University of Glasgow in 1934, Elizabeth “Bessie” Williamson began working as a temporary secretary at the Laphroaig Distillery on the Scottish island Islay. Williamson quickly found herself joining the boys in the tasting room, studying the distillation process, and winning them over with her knowledge of Scottish whisky.

After the owner of La

Kindle Edition, 232 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Potomac Books Inc.
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Average rating 3.50  · 
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Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is perhaps telling that all of the blurbs on the back of this book are just descriptions of the contents, without any actual praise for the writing. The writing is horrible. Dull, meandering, and full of what I will generously assume are typos.

This book contains a lot of useful information that would be hard to find elsewhere. As a reference, it does fill a useful niche. But this is content deserving of a much better writer than it received.

In addition, for a book purporting to tell the story
Whisky Lassie
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a whisky enthusiast who has many whisky books in her collection. I was skeptical when I heard about this book but then received it as a gift from a friend.

I read it cover to cover and truly enjoyed the history, the ease at which it can be read as well as the content. Fred wrote this book so that anyone, no matter where they are on their own personal whisky journey can understand and appreciate this story. The fact that he has researched and well documented is proof at how dedicated he was
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Though Mr. Minnick tackles a multitude of subjects with a plethora of sources, he seems to lose sight (repeatedly) of what exactly is his chosen subject. He begins giving a brief history of beer in Sumeria/Egypt that is so utterly incomplete (and incorrect, I'm told by a friendly Egyptologist) that I immediately began to have misgivings about reading this book. Based on the description by the publisher, I expected numerous vignettes about women who played important roles in the history of whiske ...more
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading this book helped me feel a real connection to the whiskey industry. Women have had such a significant role in the creation and preservation of distilled alcohol. It was impressive to read about the stories of many recognizable brands and to learn about the women behind the bottle. While women are welcome in the alcohol industry in present times, they haven't always been in recognizable positions of power. Kentucky has their very first female master distiller with Marianne Barnes at Woodf ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book with readable language and of reasonable length. It strikes me as an ideal tome to pick up if you already have a basic understanding of the types of whiskey, how it's made, and the leading companies that produce it. Some of the discussion on current female whiskey leaders grew a bit tiresome. The later chapters of the book began sounding more like just a list of each lady's work experience. I much preferred the history-oriented earlier chapters. They were both informative, and spa ...more
Derek Beaugarde
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whiskey Women The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey by Fred Minnick
Fred Minnick's book about women in history who were deeply involved in the whiskey industries in the States, Scotland and Ireland is a deeply researched piece of untold history. I should know as I was involved in much of the Scottish archival research, particularly, in relation to the Dalmore and Laphroaig distilleries. If you like your history, your whiskey and your women, then this is a fantastic read.
Sharon Carpenter
I am a woman, I love history, and I love whiskey. This book had the potential of being perfect for me. I picked this up after touring Ghost Coast Distillery in Savannah. I truly did enjoy the stories of these fantastic women, especially since most would equate whiskey history with the male names on the labels. The only reason. This is a 3 and not a 4 star review is that much of the book is very clinical in its historical recount, and the stories of some of the women are hard to piece together ch ...more
Rosa King
The title and cover of this beautifully designed book caught my eye in the gift shop of a bourbon distillery we had just toured. I was intrigued by the tour guide's presentation of how the once-prosperous distillery run by the founder's widow fell on hard times during prohibition, but was recently rediscovered and restored by its heirs. I was then inspired to learn more about women in the whiskey business and purchased the book. "Whiskey Women" was well researched and informative, covering the o ...more
My boyfriend got me this book as a gift from his work trip in TN. Overall I really enjoyed it, but as is my complaint with journalists writing historical accounts, it reads like a long news article. I do think it’s better than most. Its challenging to cover so much history in a short time. This book does a fair job of it.
There’s also the delightfully obliviousness to toxic masculine culture. Not to mention the times he’ll focus on the men over the women. That being said, this book is a good effo
Quick impressions: A book that acknowledges the role of women in distilling and making spirits, focusing on whiskey from early times to today. After a quick look at early history, we look at the evolution of whiskey and how women played a role in it: sometimes active roles, sometimes passive, sometimes opposing it (see those temperance people), sometimes bootlegging (in fact many women were seriously talented at bootlegging). Overall an interesting book.
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wasn’t heavily invested in this story. Any book that has a male writer who seems profoundly surprised that women can do a job as well or better than men. Something with the tone just struck me the wrong way. Specifically, the discussion of Maker’s Mark’s was sealing and special bottle design making it “a woman in a red dress in a sea of women in jeans and t-shirts,” made me roll my eyes.
Donna Kremer
If I️ needed a whiskey resource book or if I️ was in the industry then maybe I’d like this book. It seemed like a well researched college paper that I️ had little interest in. I got distracted or fell asleep at least ten times per page.
Mark Vierthaler
Lots of different perspectives on a wide variety of pieces of whiskey history, but unfortunately it has some major blind spots in terms of the history of women on the production side of whiskey. Some of the stories come across a bit dismissive and paternalistic.
Thomas Skrmetti
An interesting read on an under discussed side of whiskey history. I just wish there had been more individual detail with some of the stories.
Derek Post
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book about some amazing lady leaders... taking the reader thru the span of time .. to today's current distillers ..
Stephanie Hallowell
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Extremely Informative

A very interesting read, full of facts. Such a rich history of women and whiskey that I never knew about.
Really liked the information in the book but the writing was mediocre
very informative, just a little drier and more textbook-y than i was hoping for.
Joshua Feldman
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: whisky
"Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey" is an important work in the field of whiskey history. The particular view that "Whiskey Women" undoes is the notion that whiskey is a man's drink and that, after that fact, it's OK for women to like it too. The "it's OK, honey, I'll scoot over for you and make room for you on this bench on the whiskey express" notion that is embodied in such facts as whiskey marketing people developing extremely light whiskie ...more
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am whiskey drinker. I usually choose Jameson or Bushmills on the rocks, although I’m also a fan of the Four Roses Bourbon out of Lawrenceburg. Until my trip to Edinburgh last year I thought I loathed Scotch whisky; I couldn’t take the peaty, smoky smell. Upon being introduced to the Speyside single malt Scotch whiskies, however, I found another brown liquor to add to the rotation.

Given my love of whiskies, and knowing my feminist views, my husband found the perfect book to surprise me with ear
Lissa Notreallywolf
In my preview I mentioned that there were some historical factoids in the primitive era I found a little questionable. The whole book has an anecdotal feel about it, sort of like you sat down at a Whiskey event with someone storytelling for another drink. The stories about the women are dry, however without sympathy or anything beyond a news reporters read into their lives. I gather that examining personal papers wasn't a priority. I found the perspective sexist, despite the focus on women, like ...more
Joe Baur
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like anything worth talking about, there's more to a dram of whisk(e)y than meets the eye. Fred Minnick dives into the overlooked and underappreciated world of how women have not only contributed to but been a leading force in making this drink the beloved beverage we know today. Best of all, he presents the history in a digestible fashion, meaning you feel like you're on a trip rather than sitting through a lecture.
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very disappointed in the book. I am a serious Whiskey drinking woman. I love whiskey and I love to study history, so I thought this was the perfect book for me. It was not. For starters, It is poorly written and a complete bore. There is so much great literary non-fiction on the market now, this book is the opposite. I also did not think this book lived up to it's title. It did not go into nearly enough detail about any specific woman in the whiskey world. One of the most interesting chapt ...more
Myra Breckinridge
This isn't so much a book about the untold story of women in the whiskey business, as it is a summary of women who should be acknowledged in whiskey history. As an outline or entry point into the essential contributions women have made, it is great. Minnick is focused on including as many names as possible, and heralding those who have made substantial strides in the business.

However, it lacks the life, flair, and space to be anything more. The writing is impersonal and distant, lacking the thou
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book about how women have been involved in and transformed the whisky industry, from the "Tough Irish Women" to the Scotch and Americans. Some have criticized the author's lack of research, but he has provided copious notes for each chapter and a bibliography. What more do you want? This work was written on a bare bones budget with some travel paid for by one distillery, but for the most part, I see this book as a labor of love. I respect that. The book is more academic in nature and may no ...more
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: culinary, history, and whiskey enthusiasts
Recommended to Nicole by: Buffalo Trace
For some reason, Whiskey Women was slow starting, but very fascinating and empowering once I got into the history of women and drink, especially the early North American trade. Author Fred Minnick doesn't seem to miss a single detail, and a reader will surely get an education not only in the important role women have played in the spirits industry, but also in the nature of distillation, aging, and tasting of all types of whiskeys/whiskys. And, as I'm finishing it, I have added at least five oth ...more
An interesting book about the history of whiskey and the role women played in it. It got a little dry toward the end but I learned a lot. Admittedly, I picked this up on a whim, especially since I live in bourbon country in Kentucky. Like some of the other reviewers, I wish the author had delved deeper in to the lives of the women in the whiskey world and stayed more closely to topic. In the end it felt like he was doing a bit of advertising for some of the biggest whiskey makers.
It was brief account. But it felt like listing the brands and the women involved and did that for the top brands. It was an interesting read, but I felt I was just reading bullet points. Granted, it was information I never knew but felt impersonal.

Straight and to the point, but that is what whiskey drinkers like, right?
Amy L. Campbell
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2014
A lot of really good information, could have used more anecdotes and may have benefitted from more in depth profiles of women currently in the whiskey business, but certainly a good brief overview of the topic.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, book-club
It took a while to find its footing. The discussion of the 20th century onward flowed much better. My first impression was that it was written like a high schooler's attempt at an essay which made me a bit worried. Switching over to the audiobook was something of an improvement though.
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