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Highlands to host first Master of Scotch exam

Education and certification body The Council of Whiskey Masters will hold its inaugural Master of Scotch examination in the Scottish Highlands this September.

Masters of Scotch
Whisky experts can become a ‘Master of Scotch’ through The Council of Whiskey Masters’s programme

Los Angeles-based Council of Whiskey Masters launched what it claimed was the first set of ‘specialised and rigorous’ qualifications dedicated to Scotch and Bourbon in 2019.

The Council of Whiskey Masters offers a four-level certification programme, beginning with the ‘Certified Scotch Professional’ or ‘Certified Bourbon Professional’ diploma and leading to the ‘Master of Scotch’ title for candidates who ‘demonstrate mastery of single malt whisky’.

Thousands of candidates across 35 countries have advanced through the programme, the council noted.

The first Master of Scotch exam will take place from 8-11 September 2022 at the Rothes Glen castle in Speyside, the Scottish home of the council.

Candidates must complete a written and oral exam, as well as demonstrate their skills in recognising Scotch whisky through a two-hour blind tasting that will cover regional styles, ageing and finishing.

The two-hour written theory exam will consist of six essay questions, chosen from a menu of 30 topics and themes.

The one-hour oral theory exam will cover specific questions from required readings of 10 books on the category.

The examination will be judged by members of the council’s advisory board, featuring Keepers and Masters of the Quaich.

The inaugural members of the advisory board includes chairman Steve Beal; spirits consultant, judge and keeper of the quiach; Dave Broom, spirits writer and master of the quaich; Lew Byrson, author and former managing editor of Whisky Advocate; Martin Duffy, North American brand representative for Glencairn Crystal; and Rick Edwards, who has worked for Scotch brands such as Johnnie Walker, The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal.

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