Whisky Masterclass – any time, onlineDecember 19th, 2011
We hope you recall Dave Broom’s piece from our fall issue of Whisky Advocate, in which he chronicled touring Scotland in a cheese-reeking motorhome with a South African camera crew. The purpose of the tour was to create a series of video classes on whisky, and that class is now available, both online and as a set of DVDs, called The World Masterclass.
It’s no small project. This first year of the course is a series of 50 lessons, each featuring Broom describing an aspect of whisky production, backed up by video clips of distillers giving their own personal perspectives on that facet. That’s perhaps the most appealing part of this package; learning about malting from Eddie MacAffer (Bowmore), milling from Georgie Crawford (Lagavulin), distillation from Mickey Heads (Ardbeg), finishing from Jim McEwan (Bruichladdich)…this is no surface-skim of whisky education, it’s as geeky as you want to get.
“It’s all very well having the theory laid out,” says Broom, “but the only way in which you can understand whisky is by seeing the places in which it is made: the landscape, the weather — and it was pretty wild when we were there — and, most importantly, the phenomenal people who make the spirit.”
You can’t have a whisky masterclass without tasting, of course. While you can’t actually taste whisky coming through the screen, there are 100 three-to-five minute sessions of tasting readily available major whisky brands with Broom, featuring full descriptions of the flavors and positioning them in one of five “flavor camps.”
It’s a serious undertaking, and you’ll have to take it seriously to get everything out of it; each lesson presents a multiple-choice test at the end. You have to pass the test to unlock the next level (whisky education as video game progression?). There are other rewards: once enrolled, you get offers for whisky specials, events, and further filmed specials. Year 2 will add Irish whisky and blended Scotch whisky, as well as more in-depth focuses on specific Scottish distilleries.
The price for the online/5-DVD course is $150. Enrollment and more information is available at theworldmasterclass.com. –Lew Bryson