THE WORLD of whisky education is taking a huge step forward with the international launch of The World Masterclass, a comprehensive on-line/DVD course created by one of the world’s leading hospitality training firms, Lobster Ink, and author Dave Broom.
Year 1 of the whisky course consists of a series of 50 lessons, 150 video clips of distillers and distilleries and over 100 tasting clips which take students through the history of whisky, production techniques and methods of tasting. Subtitling into a range of languages makes this the first truly global whisky training course*.
Each of the lessons includes a ‘classroom’ session, with Dave Broom explaining in depth the principles behind each aspect of whisky production, followed by a lesson featuring distillers talking of their own specific techniques.
This means that students can learn about malting from Eddie MacAffer (Bowmore), milling from Georgie Crawford (Lagavulin), mashing from Andy Cant (Cardhu), fermentation from Alistair Longwell (Ardmore), distillation from Mickey Heads (Ardbeg), maturation from Andy MacDonald (Glenmorangie) and finishing from Jim McEwan (Bruichladdich)… and many more.
Students then take a multiple choice test on each lesson which ‘unlocks’ the next level. The back-end assessment system used has been developed by Lobster Ink and is used by the firm in its existing global training business.
“It has always been hard for whisky lovers to get proper education on the drink which they love,” says Dave Broom. “I believe that this approach is a hugely exciting way in which to build a global, educated, whisky community.” Members of the World Masterclass club will receive dedicated whisky offers, events and access to one-off filmed specials.
The filming for Year 1 took place in the studio for the classroom material and over an intense three week period in Scotland, where the team filmed at over 40 distilleries. “It’s all very well having the theory laid out,” says Dave 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.”
“We have constructed the course in such a way as to take students through the ‘decision points’ which each distiller faces and how that decision impacts on the flavour of the whisky they create,” Broom adds. “Each of these flavours is also shown: flowers, fruits, seashore aromas, even a hamster to show maltiness! Students can then understand that the aromas in whisky are real and related to everyday aromas which are around them.”
The same principle is extended to the 100, 3-5 minute tasting clips of major whisky brands with each having its own ‘flavour board’ and positioning in one of fiev flavour camps.
With Year 1 complete, the team is working on Year 2 which will launch in spring 2012, featuring in-depth focuses on specific distilleries as well as Irish whisky and Scotch blends. Further whisky categories are then planned as well as extending The World Masterclass into all other spirits categories. “We have so many great ideas for this platform,” says Broom. “The possibilities with this application are endless.”
Students go to www.theworldmasterclass.com to enroll. Year 1 costs £99/USD150. The course is also available in a 5-pack DVD format in selected countries.
*Subtitled courses in various languages will be scheduled for March 2012
Glasgow-born Dave Broom has been writing and teaching about spirits for over 20 years. He is contributing editor to Whisky Magazine, a columnist and taster for The Whisky Advocate, editor-in-chief of Whisky Magazine Japan and writes for numerous titles internationally. His latest book is the World Atlas of Whisky. He is a Master of the Quaich and a Kentucky Colonel.
Lobster Ink is a leading hospitality training company which specialises in creating richly detailed multimedia courses that expose the processes, people, places and flavours behind the world’s finest spirits, wines and ingredients. In addition to training the world’s top hospitality establishments in Service, Bar, Wine, Housekeeping and Management, Lobster Ink has spent the last 3 years building in-depth, high-definition multimedia courses on Whisky, Wine, Cognac, Champagne and other fine spirits, which will allow everyone who enjoys them to better understand and appreciate the flavours in the glass by joining The World Masterclass online community and participating in the video-based courses.