Editor’s Note: This book was provided to us as a review sample by the publisher. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
Fun fact: I have a weird affinity for laws. I aced my business law classes at Oregon State University, so paired with my love of whiskey, you would think I would enjoy reading about America’s spirit from a legal standpoint in Bourbon Justice. In short, I’m disappointed not with the content but with the execution.
The book covers topics of trademarks to consumer protection and prohibition to distillery working conditions. The material is a great subject, and an attorney should be the one to write about the subject. However, Brian F. Haara, took a dense topic and crammed it into 152 pages that reads like a boring textbook. Hell, my actual law textbook was easier to read.
The main issue is that Haara, an attorney and bourbon history blogger, thinks he knows who his audience is, but he doesn’t exactly write for them. The paragraphs are large and tend to run on with distracting amounts of parentheses. The monotony of text is broken up by randomly placed whiskey tasting notes and over-sized graphics.
Folks in the liquor industry might pick up a copy to keep their knowledge sharp, or because the foreward was written by Fred Minnick. As a bartender and whiskey expert, I did learn some new facts (Jack Daniels vs Ezra Brooks, pg 137), but I am not the sole target audience for the book. Bourbon enthusiasts are. The average bourbon drinker has not finished college. Also, the United States is facing a literacy crisis. Haara may not even realize his writing style is a barrier.
Brian F. Haara has thoroughly done his research, and I respect that as I am always grateful for more bourbon knowledge. History lovers will enjoy the book. Other whiskey author’s are praising Bourbon Justice. I am not.
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Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...