Single malt Scotch has been the exclusive domain of the Scots since Scotch was Scotch (Hello, Search Engine results!). There seems to be as many different kinds of it as there are wines in Napa and they are often complex, strong, and for Scotch lovers only.
Elizabeth Riley Bell is trying to take some of the craziness out of it for beginners with her book "The Smart Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky" (Smart Guide Publications, $19.95, 392 pp.). Elizabeth isn't someone trying to make waves just for fun. She's the first American, and one of the only women, to go to training at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute in Edinburgh. This chick is all pro and she's trying to make it so others can love Scotch as much as she does.
With single malts starting at $50 and working their way up from there, there's not a lot of wiggle room for most people to buy a bunch of bottles and figure out what they like. She has been to over 100 distilleries over 25 summers to put together this compendium of Scotch knowledge. The book has beginner points but goes in-depth for the Scotch obsessed and lets you read every little detail or you can just scan the "What You Need To Know" section at the end of every chapter for the 10,000 foot view.
Check out the video and a really well done story on Elizabeth and her book right here.