I like Murray's whiskey reviews, and especially his appreciation for rye whiskey. However, the book was marred for me by the chapter "Making Bourbon", which has a number of major gaffes, at least in the section dealing with malted barley and mashing. It's pretty clear Murray doesn't understand the process at all.
He doesn't know why malted barley is added to the mash and he doesn't understand the chemistry at all. For example: "so the carbohydrates are turned into sugars. It is these sugary enzymes whih will be fed upon by the yeast. . ."
First of all, sugars *are* carbohydrates. So are starches, which is what he is fumbling with, but he still has it wrong. "Sugary enzymes" makes no sense at all. Enzymes in the barley are essential for breaking the starches into sugars, yes, but they are distinctly different components.
He also doens't understand what happens in the mash, and why the backset is added. Yes, it does control acidity, but preventing "bacterial infection" isn't the point; the point is to have the correct pH so the enzymes (see above) are most effective in the mash -- the point of which is that conversion from starches to simple sugars.
He knows that malted barley "must be used" in the mash, but apparently doesn't know why: because those enzymes (not sugary enzymes) are not available in corn (or unmalted rye or wheat, for that matter). Without the malted barley, there would be no mash, and nothing for yeast to ferment.
A few years ago, when Malt Advocate ran a laudatory review of the book, I asked them why they'd given him a pass on this misinformation. One of the editors ran the questions by Murray but he failed or refused to respond.
I do like his tasting notes, for the most part, although naturally don't agree with all of them.