WHISKY is not only the world's most consistently successful and popular drink, it is also one of the oldest, having been around in one form or another since the first millennium. However, documentary records only commence in Scotland in 1494 when it was distilled as a spirit known as aqua vitae. Its growth since then has been better detailed and a complete lexicon has developed in line with whisky's increasing sophistication and worldwide popularity. The A to Z of Whisky is designed for whisky enthusiasts, lovers of Scotland, academics, journalists, amateur historians, broadcasters and researchers who need to have all the relevant facts and references about whisky close to hand. The entries cover every possible aspect of the spirit (including the American, Canadian and Irish derivatives) from aftershots to zymurgy, and include those curious terms which often crop up in the world of whisky, such as:viscimetry 'Viscimation is what happens when two liquids of different viscosity mix, creating eddies and visible threads or ribbons. These are referred to as viscimetric whorls… The most commonly observed instance of viscimetry is where water is added to spirituous alcohol, especially whisky, where the colour makes the effect more observable. Since time immemorial, whisky-drinkers have referred to the phenomenon as “awakening the serpent”.' (MacLean, MMoW) In Whisky Magazine, Issue 56, July 2006, Dave Broom writes of Ichiro's Malt 1988 King of Diamonds, 'This has classic Japanese finesse (and excellent viscimetry). Great whisky is about balance and this has it … in diamonds, not spades.' But this is no dry, didactic reference tome. It is crammed full of anecdote, aside and comment, a great deal of it tongue-in-cheek. This makes using the A-Z of Whisky both an informative and entertaining task. 'I cannot recommend it too highly,' Charles MacLean, whisky writer and author of the Mitchell Beazley Pocket Whisky Book.