Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Secrets of Islay- Golf, Marathons and Single Malt by Robert Kroeger

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Secrets of Islay- Golf, Marathons and Single Malt
Author: Robert Kroeger
First Published: December 2014
Published By:
Format Read: Ebook
Genre: Non-fiction
Read: Feb 18 2015
Rating: 4/5

I was sent a copy of The Secrets of Islay- Golf, Marathons and Single Malt by the author Robert Kroeger in exchange for an honest review.

Islay (pronounced Eye-Lah) is a mostly Gaelic speaking island which is part of Scotland and the setting for this non-fiction book penned by Robert Kroeger. This island is known for its single malt whisky (yes spelled without the e) which is referred to as “the water of life”. While on a tour and tasting of a local distillery in 2011 the visitors begin their quest to find truth, “Quid est veritas”. This poses the question “Can a person excel in both golf and marathon running?” As a result the Lords of the Isles Challenge was created. Most of the book follows the organizer of the challenge known as Caballo Blanco as he travels all over the island of Islay meeting many locals and searching for veritas. Readers follow along on his journey learning about the ancient history, the lords who ruled, its many former golf courses and of course its distilleries. The marathon part of the challenge was referred to as the Single Malt Marathon was held for the first time on April 13 2014 and helped raise money for a local school on the island. 

I admit I was a bit daunted by the task of reading this book for the following reasons: a: I can’t remember the last time I went golfing, b: over my dead body could I ever see myself running a marathon and c: I don’t drink. However I was so excited that an author had asked me to read and review their book that I jumped at the chance. Lucky for me there was a lot more to this book than golfing, running and drinking. One of my favourite genres to read is history. Islay is chalk full of a long history that dates back to Mesolithic times. So naturally this part really interested me. Even though this is non-fiction, the style of writing is witty which made for an interesting read that wasn’t dry like a textbook. Several pictures were included that helped me to form a better picture of the setting. I had never heard of Islay before, but the descriptions of the weather certainly reminded me of Newfoundland. Another similarity of the two places is in their strong sense of culture. This is evident in the amount of people who volunteered their time to make the marathon happen and to celebrate afterwards infusing their own traditions. It was touching to learn that Blanco wasn’t the only member of that original distillery tasting, who kept on the quest for their own veritas. The accomplishments of these people and how their lives changed only further added to the purpose of the story.

For those who think that this book isn’t for them due to the title, I would suggest giving it a try because there is more to it than one would expect. I walked away from The Secrets of Islay feeling uplifted and inspired to do better for myself. Perhaps I could find my own veritas.

For more information on the author and Islay visit the following websites:

Lochindaal Lighthouse, Islay
Image from

Peat cutting on Islay for distilleries 

Image from

1 comment:

  1. Very nice review Melissa. It does make me want to read the book :)