This is Iain Banks’s first non-fiction book, and he has done a brilliant job of it. It’s a pretty natural fit for him to write a book about scotch malt whisky, but although the goal of the book is nominally to find the “perfect dram”, he writes as much about his love of driving around Scotland as he does about whisky itself. If you’ve ever heard Banks speak, or hung out with him in a bar, you’ll recognize his voice in this narrative. It’s similar to the style of his novels, but much more relaxed and free-flowing. His last few novels have felt a little bit jaded and tired; Raw Spirit is fresh again. As well as bagging every single malt whisky distillery in Scotland in a variety of interesting cars, he rolls out bundles of anecdotes and rambles about whatever crosses his path in the course of his “research.” Raw Spirit is a funny, informative, and totally delightful read.