Whisky Advocate

The Balvenie Whisky Academy debuts

March 21st, 2011

When it comes to whisky, education is key. The buyer purchases a whisky he (or she) will like, the retailer is happy, the distributor is happy, and the producer is happy. That’s why I have devoted my professional life to it.

That’s also why I was happy to hear from Sam Simmons, The Balvenie Global Ambassador, when he told me about the Balvenie Whisky Academy. It’s not just Balvenie who wins here. Everybody wins. Well done!

Here’s the scoop, directly from Sam himself:

We have just completed a series of 35 films we are calling The Balvenie Whisky Academy. I began work on it this past autumn and it began to take shape with filming in November and December.

The series is available at

A blurb about the project:

The Balvenie Whisky Academy

A series of 34 online films, The Whisky Academy will be available exclusively to Warehouse 24 members and provides an introduction to the world of single malts for newcomers, as well as greater depth of understanding for those already familiar with whisky. There are contributions from internal experts like Malt Master David Stewart, Global Ambassador Sam Simmons, Dufftown Site Leader, Stuart Watts and Process Team Leader, Marie Stanton, as well as external experts like whisky scholar Charles MacLean, writer Gavin D. Smith, and Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange.

As well as providing a history of whisky, how it’s produced, the crafts and chemistry involved, the Whisky Academy will also answer some of the most commonly asked questions about single malts, as well as guiding the viewer through the science of flavour and the techniques of whisky tasting.

The Balvenie Whisky Academy comprises four modules, containing a total of 34 short films which offer expert insights and commentary on the world of single malt whiskies. So, whether the viewer is at the start of their whisky journey, or is a relative expert, there is something for everyone.

The full library of the 34 Whisky Academy videos will ‘live’ on The Balvenie website, and will be available exclusively to Warehouse 24 members.

[You can find a sample of the films, this one focusing on barrel sizes and names, right here.]

By way of an ‘at-a-glance’ overview, the four modules and summary of what they cover are detailed below:

Module 1 – ‘The History of Scotch Malt Whisky’

Experts featured: Charles MacLean and Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange

Module 2 – ‘Production of Scotch Malt Whisky’

Experts featured: Richard Lake from Crisp Maltings Group, Marie Stanton, Stuart Watts and David Stewart from The Balvenie, Ian Grant from Glenfiddich and Leslie Gracie from William Grant & Sons

Module 3 – ‘Whisky Nitty Gritty’

Experts featured: Eddie Ludlow of The Whisky Lounge, writer Gavin D Smith, The Balvenie Global Ambassador, Sam Simmons and Sukhinder Singh of The Whisky Exchange 

Module 4 – ‘Nosing and Tasting’

Experts featured: Leslie Gracie, Eddie Ludlow, David Mair, David Stewart and Sam Simmons

6 Responses to “The Balvenie Whisky Academy debuts”

  1. bj reed says:

    Geri Tosh has done something similar with his videos at Highland Park, although they have not been packaged the way Balvanie is doing it – Lots of great information about the process and no matter how many times I have been to distilleries you learn something new and interesting.

  2. JR says:

    I liked Gerry’s films but they are just Highland Park focused. What I really like about these Balvenie vids (or at least the ones I have seen) is that they are not afraid to talk about Glenlivet, Glen Grant, Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, etc. They are about WHISKY, not just one brand, and that deserves some kudos.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      That is cool JR. How many times have we seen a “history of whisky” where the evolution of the drink fortuitously culminates with development of the brand(s) owned by a single corporation or conglomerate?

    • bj reed says:

      Good point JR, Gerry’s (sorry about the spelling there in the original post) are Highland Park specific but some of the focus on things like chill filtering and cask selection are still excellent resources.

      I am a big fan of Glenfiddich and Balvanie so I appreciate their going in this direction.

  3. two-bit cowboy says:

    Looking forward to having a look.

  4. Adge says:

    I watched some episodes before going to sleep last night and plan on making that a nightly ritual before bed. It’s good!

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