Once again it's been a long while between book reviews, and it's taken me a very long time to finish the late Iain Banks's 2003 travel diary and essay on whisky - Raw Spirit.
Being a fan of Banks, of whisky, and distillation in general, I was looking forward to reading this one, but alas found it to be far too dry in the middle. Even the occasional witty anecdote and larrikinism was not enough to keep me interested... hence the slow progress.
In short, there's a lot of dialog on cars, driving, touring, and clearly Banks was a passionate, and nerdy automobile collector. It's just not terribly exciting. I think that was this book's greatest failing; It tries to do too many things, and does nothing well.
There is a short, but very helpful guide to pronunciation at the back. Unfortunately the actual distillery and whisky descriptions on Bank's search for the perfect dram are very random, unindexed and not likely to be much help if you happen to be trying to walk (or drive) in his footsteps. I would have loved a map!
Ultimately this is no more that a collection of touring comments, in a book heavily padded with reminiscence and a sprinkle of social commentary. A curio only, and not one of Bank's best works.