Iain Banks, 2003 Arrow Books 366 pages including Further reading section and a Pronunciation guide but no reference or glossary.
I love a good whisky book so when I read this title ‘Raw Spirit – in search of the perfect dram’ I thought ‘this is for me’. I was wrong. I am not going to say that this is a bad book but is not a book I enjoyed reading. I think the problem for me was that this is written by one person about his personal journey to find the perfect dram. The journey was too personal, I wanted to read about the whiskies and whilst there were some pages scattered around the book that met that desire they were too few and far between for my taste. Whilst these whisky pages were well written and both informed and informative they were rare and did not seem to correlate to the amount of whisky that is reported to have been bought and tasted in research for the book.
What this book does have is lots of information about the author and his memories and thinking, be that about his cars, friends, other works or views about politics – most of which having little direct relevance to whisky. This got to the point where I began to think that the search for a perfect dram was second to other things going on.
I had expected a continuous journey that progressed in a logical manner that explored and compared whiskies and their distilleries full of relevant anecdotes and interviews. What I read had the potential for this but in a diluted way that often seemed to loose focus. If you want to read about a personal account of a Scot travelling around Scotland this is good, if you want to read about whisky you will end up missing out a lot of pages.