‘Master of Scotch’ and ‘Master of Whiskey’ courses launch

An education body in California has launched a dedicated programme for whisk(e)y professionals, which culminates in the ‘Master of Scotch’ and ‘Master of Whiskey’ qualifications.

The Los Angeles-based Council of Whiskey Masters has launched what it claims is the first set of “specialised and rigorous” qualifications dedicated to Scotch and Bourbon.

The first levels of the programme are the Certified Scotch Professional (CSP) and Certified Bourbon Professional (CBP) courses, places for which are now open.

To prepare for the exam, students will be offered a 100-page study guide. The exam itself consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, which must be completed in one hour. To pass, students must score 80% or higher, after which they will receive a ‘diploma’ and may use the CSP or CBP letters after their names.

Exam dates will be offered four times per year in local exam centres throughout the US, Europe and Canada.

After completing level one, candidates can progress to level two – the Certified Whiskey Specialist (CWS – launching later this year) course. Later, they can take on studies for the Master of Scotch (SM, Level 3 – enrolment in 2020) and Master of Whiskey (WM, Level 4 – enrolment in 2021) qualifications.

“With growing interest in Scotch and Bourbon, beverage professionals and hobbyists can demonstrate their dedication to and expertise in whiskey through a demanding course of study and examination, from anywhere in the world,” the course provider said.

Trademark pending

The Council of Whiskey Masters states on its website that the terms ‘Master of Scotch’ and ‘Master of Whiskey’ are pending protection from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

According to the council, embarking on the two ‘Master’ qualifications “represents a lifelong commitment to Scotch or to whiskeys in general”, adding that “passing the exams constitutes the most challenging achievement in the professional life of a fine spirits expert”.

The full criteria of the Masters courses is yet to be confirmed, but will include an enhanced focus on blind tasting.

For the first two years, the Master of Scotch programme will be overseen by the Keepers and Masters of the Quaich. Once the first 10 Masters of Scotch have been certified, they will join the Council of Whiskey Masters and lead subsequent examinations.

The Master of Whiskey qualifications will be awarded after “detailed examination of theory and practical knowledge in the world of Scotch, Bourbon and other global [whiskies]”.

Both Master examinations will be overseen in person and take place in Lexington, Kentucky, or Inverness, Scotland.

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