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About the book
  • Published: 17 October 2019
  • ISBN: 9781529124781
  • Imprint: Century
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $24.99

Raw Spirit

In Search of the Perfect Dram

Formats & editions

A beautiful hardback gift-edition with a new introduction by Ian Rankin. Raw Spirit is a fascinating journey through Scotland's famous distilleries with legendary author Iain Banks

New introduction by Ian Rankin
‘One of the most playful and entertaining writers of our generation’
Val McDermid, Guardian

In an absorbing voyage as interesting to non-drinkers as to true whisky connoisseurs, sci-fi and literary author Iain Banks explores the rich heritage of Scottish whisky, from the most famous distilleries to the most obscure operations.

Whisky is more than a drink: it's a culture that binds together people, places and products far across Scotland's rugged terrain. Switching from cars to ferries to bicycles, Banks criss-crosses his homeland, weaving an engrossing narrative full of fascinating traditions, peculiar people, and the downright bizarre places he encounters on his journey down Scotland's great golden road.

  • Pub date: 17 October 2019
  • ISBN: 9781529124781
  • Imprint: Century
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Author

Iain Banks

Iain Banks was born in Scotland in 1954. He came to widespread public notice in 1984 with the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory. He went on to gain enormous and popular critical acclaim with further works of fiction and science fiction. In 1993 he was acknowledged as one of the Best of Young British Writers. He died in 2013.

Praise for Raw Spirit

“It does what every good book should manage to do, and what a hundred other books on whisky (and a thousand other books on Scotland) have signally failed to do: makes you want to go for a drink with the author.”


“Studded with bracing shots of pure insight and eloquence. And he's sound on the scotch as well.”


“A very readable and hugely informative book, and Bank’s gentle humour permeates the pages.”

Time Out

“It’s an engaging piece of work, part love letter, part memoir.”


“A very beguiling fusion of memoir, history and current affairs.”

Glasgow Herald

“A beautifully realised fusion of travelogue, social commentary and drinking guide. Scotland's most famous export is decanted into full-bodied, humorous prose.”

Independent on Sunday

“A voyage that a malt connoisseur of any level will find as enticing and as warming as that first sip of the nectar that has a history as rugged and unpredictable as Scotland’s enticing and formidable terrain.”

The AND Guide

“Fiery, variegated, and full of delicious moments.”

Literary Review

“Banks' finely-honed sense of place make you want to get on a train, head to the Highlands and never come back.”


“Raw Spirit charts its own course through the social landscapes of everywhere from Skye to Lothian, where obscure distilleries compete against the world-famous, with a wide cast of characters bringing them - and the liquor - to life.”


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