• Raw Spirit

  • By: Iain Banks
  • Narrated by: Tom Cotcher
  • Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Raw Spirit  By  cover art

Raw Spirit

By: Iain Banks
Narrated by: Tom Cotcher
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Publisher's Summary

In a bid to uncover the unique spirit of the single malt whisky, author lain Banks has decided to undertake a tour of the distilleries of his homeland.

His tour of Scotland combines history, literature and landscape in an entertaining and informative account.

©2003 Iain Banks (P)2004 W. F. Howes Ltd

What listeners say about Raw Spirit

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I miss this guy!

First off, the reading by Tom Cotcher gets an A+. I could listen to this guy’s rich, delicious Scottish burr all day, even though I can’t understand half of it! Just a wonderful reading, full of enthusiasm and richly rolling r’s…
This is Banks’ only non-fiction book, and it’s about scotch whisky, which is not a topic I’m particularly interested in. After resisting for years, I finally bought this just because I miss Banks and wanted to hear from him again. The book turns out to be much more than a mere recitation of Banks’ tour of Scotland’s distilleries. It’s a bit of a memoir (including some very interesting bits from his writing career), a bit of travelogue (this man seriously loved his country), a bit of political commentary (focused on Gulf War 2), and a cornucopia of often hilarious digressions, anecdotes and random thoughts. It is of course marvelously well written. It’s very informative on the subject of single-malt scotch, about which I knew next to nothing, and is overall very entertaining. I probably should have read it on Kindle as many of the pronunciations of place names and distilleries are almost incomprehensible, but like I said above, I would not have missed Tom Cotcher’s delicious reading. Banks turns out to have been quite the lover of life, motorcars, long drives in the highlands, motorcycles, boats, and of course scotch. As entertaining as I found the book, I had to ding it for the political stuff, which I agree with but which doesn’t help the narrative, and for far too many detailed descriptions of specific roads taken, kind of like having road maps of someplace you’ve never been being read to you – gets boring after a while. Also in the end the distillery visits and whisky samplings got kind of repetitive, despite Banks’ impressive efforts to say something unique about each and every one. That said, I was inspired to pick up a bottle of Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve, which I am very much looking forward to trying out. Mr. Banks, you are sorely missed.

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Best time I’ve had in months!

If you love whisky or if you love Scotland (hopefully you like both) or if you love driving on the open road, this is a MUST read. Brilliantly written (Banks does hop around a bit from topic to topic but my A.D.D.appreciated that fact rather then experiencing annoyance or confusion) but he eventually gets back to the most important topic of whisky. And you’ll have such a blast going down those sidebars with him, you’ll hardly notice. I think this is much down to the narration. Tom Cotcher may be my favourite Scottish Audible narrator, and that’s saying something given the other gents I’m comparing him to, also remarkable actors. He completely honours Banks’ story and I laughed out loud many, many times. Cannot recommend highly enough!!

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  • Paul
  • 08-06-21

Iain Banks is a great writer!

Loved the variety of subject matter, cars, roads, food and wine, friendships, and yes a bit of whiskey talk, actually a lot of whiskey talk. Banks style and wit that he shows in his fiction and Sci-Gi are still there, plus we hear more about his own life at that time. One of my favourites, RIP IMB.

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  • S. McGrath
  • 07-17-22

Nice work if you can get it.

The research for this book was clearly a hoot, but it's not one of Iain Banks's better works.