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THE MAKING OF WHISKY is an art in itself - distilling, ageing in cask, blending, all for the enjoyment of lovers of the complex blend or the noble single malt. But another art form is rediscovered in this superb selection of over 70 nineteenth and early twentieth century posters and showcards designed to advertise the Scotch and Irish whiskies of the time. With the charming naivety of an industry still in its infancy, these distinctive and highly-prized products spread through the British Empire and the rest of the world with the aid of kilted Scotsmen with flaming beards and Irishmen dressed invariably in green. And, to add to the romance, these nationalistic ambassadors worked to a backdrop of Celtic mists and mountains and with a nifty peg or wee dram in hand.
The story of whisky’s rise from its beginnings in hidden pot stills to its public perception as a refined and stylish drink for all classes by the turn of the twentieth century is chronicled in a short introductory history. Jim Murray’s witty and knowledgeable captions not only give an insight into the posters but tell the story of the whisky companies who commissioned them, the brands they were advertising and even allow glimpses into the social history of the period as it is reflected in these precious pieces of commercial art.
For eighty years the posters remained mostly unseen in the files of the British Public Record Office (now The National Archives) at Kew until reproduced, many for the first time, in all their glory in 1998, when a small print run of this book was published in paperback form. Updated and now in hardback these priceless posters can be enjoyed once more. Some are simple, some are sophisticated, but all will appeal to both the whisky and the art lover as immensely attractive examples of a now largely forgotten form of art: The Art of Whisky.