What is Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible? An overview of Jim Murray

by Steve Forrester

What is Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible? An overview of Jim Murray

Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible is the premier book for whisky analysis in the world. Its claimed that it is the world’s leading whisky guide. The question arises then - who exactly is this Jim Murray and what makes him the foremost expert source for all things whisky?

A Little Background

Jim Murray is a journalist who got his start through writing for a variety of British press publications. In early 1992, he decided to completely devote his career to pursuing and analysing whisky, which made him one of the first modern pioneers in this particular field. After two years, he released his first book -‘Jim Murray’s Irish Whiskey Almanac’ - which met wide critical acclaim among those in the whisky scene. After his first book, he wrote various smaller pieces and spent the majority of his time endorsing lesser-known and less popular whiskies which were mainly competitors to the Scottish tradition. In 2003, he finally published the first edition of his vaulted Whisky Bible.

Obtaining Status and Dealing with Controversy

Through his persistence and dedication, Jim Murray has earned premier status among his peers. He personally tastes, analyses and rates about 1000 whiskies a year. Jim further distinguishes his status through frequently being a judge at whisky competitions and through his multi-award winning writing, which he continually releases. Jim also has managed to keep his distance from the bias of the advertising industry, allowing his opinion to stay pure and unadulterated.

Around the time that Scottish whiskies were starting to lose their global appeal to the large and upcoming Japanese distilleries, there were many who started to question Jim’s authority on the matter of whisky. Scotland distilleries were attempting to maintain their traditional processes all the while introducing systems utilizing newer wooden casks. Jim’s taste in non-Scottish whiskies started to create friction and blew up into a controversy in the world of whisky with some believing it was sacrilegious to endorse anything other than traditional Scottish whisky. Some wondered if he was being paid off by various seedy companies or if he was taking a contrary stance just because he was a journalist. Others wondered if he had completely lost his step and was past his prime as a whisky critic.

The Ultimate Verdict

Whether you agree or disagree with Jim’s positions, the fact remains that he consistently puts himself out into the world for whisky as a drink and not a brand. He puts his opinions on the chopping block year after year while navigating a dangerous road filled with harsh criticisms and an uncertain pressure to “get it right”. With many people endorsing Mr Murray and others condemning his opinions, Jim is still allowing us to see whisky in a completely different light while giving whisky drinkers a great place to start their journey. His book provides an argument that will be helpful no matter which side of the fence you stand on due to its unbiased and uncompromising nature. 




Steve Forrester
Steve Forrester

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