The first question I asked myself is: Can you be a whiskey sommelier? The answer I found is “Yep!” A whiskey sommelier is a train expert that will help make a whiskey experience more enjoyable. They will have the knowledge in presenting the whiskey in the correct glasses, the best temperature, and pairing with food. There is a council of whiskey masters. This is a program that educates and certifies those in the master of scotch, bourbon, and whiskey. There are three different levels you can achieve. Once you have accomplished the program you will have receive a lifelong right to carry the title. The level I: Certified Scotch Professional (CSP) or Certified Bourbon Professional (CBP). Level II: Certified Whiskey Specialist (CWS). Level III: Master of Scotch or Master of Bourbon. Level IV: Master of Whiskey. The first level of certification costs $395. The study time would be 60-90 hours. Then there is an online exam. **Council certification program may expire if an exam isn’t scheduled or taken within 2 years of enrollment**

This seems like a cool idea.  Disclaimer: for any hobby you don’t have to take it to such extremes.  Just explaining the process to my first question has filled my mind with more questions. If I ever wanted to take these certification programs I would have to decide between Scotch or Bourbon. When reviewing the topics they’re so in-depth that I know I have zero knowledge of scotch, bourbon, or whiskey. We should start with accumulating the terminology.

Distillery: a place where liquor is manufactured.

Scotch: made exclusively in Scotland and must be ages for at least three years.

Bourbon: is an American made whiskey that must contain at least 51% corn in its mash and be age in new, charred-oak barrels.

Whiskey: can be made anywhere in the world and has no minimum aging requirement.

Dram: is a measure of whiskey. Specifically, 1/8 of a fluid ounce or 4mL. Typically, you get a full ounce when ordering at a bar/restaurant.

Glencairn or Copita: specific glass for whiskey that is designed to related the proper compounds to thoroughly tase the whiskey.

Malt: barley or other grain that has been steeped, germinated, and dried, used for brewing or distilling and vinegar-making.

Single Malt: whiskey unblended with any other malt.

Single Grain: a whiskey that is made of whiskey from one single distillery using different grains such as wheat, rye, or corn.

Blended Malt: a blend of different single malt whiskies from different distilleries.

Blended Scotch Whiskey: a mix of different whiskies, combined to create a consistent flavor.

Blended Grain: blends of single grain scotches from different distilleries.

Mash: Brewer’s term for the hot water steeping process which hydrates the barley, activates the mal enzymes, and converts the grain starches into fermentable sugars.

Now that I have some basic terminology I think I need a drink. Our first task for the whiskey tour.  Practice using the correct terminology when tasting our new whiskies.


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