This is a really wild book! Part art photography, part science project, part coffee-table book for whisky lovers inclined to ponder the complexity of their favorite scotch. Everyone knows that science is sometimes aided by unlikely coincidences or accidents -- eureka moments. Well art seems to work that way, too. Photographer Ernie Button had a kind of eureka moment when he moved an empty glass that had the dry residue from the previous night's dram of scotch in it. Something about the way the light caught the thin film on the bottom of the glass made Button want to explore further, taking the glass to his studio to take some pictures of the patterns and swirls that revealed themselves. That led to a sort of obsession with the different ways that different whiskies left patterns, rings, clusters and whorls in their dried traces when illuminated carefully with different high-powered lights. Button's photographs can evoke stained-glass windows, brilliant sunsets, galactic configurations, plant cells under a microscope, or the paintings of Mark Rothko. If you're fascinated by the recurring patterns in nature, whether they be fingerprints, concentric tree rings, or the tight rows of a sunflower's blossom, this book will extend your curiosity to the realm of whisky. And, as writers Charles MacLean and Howard Stone express the text to the photos, the ways that the different "congeners" (the compounds and substances that impart flavor and smell to whisky) suggest a whole other way of understanding the complexities of whisky, on a visual level. The book also has dozens of lovely landscape photographs from around some of Scotland's most scenic distilleries, and it is eye-catching. Potential customers should know that some of the images are arty and abstract, but those ready to explore the visual mysteries of whisky will be entranced and enchanted.
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