A recently launched organization intends to be the "worldwide education and certification body" for whiskey.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated October 03, 2019
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Plenty of alcoholic beverages have certification programs. Among other benefits, they're a great way to prove to your friends and family that you're not simply drinking your life away. The wine world's most respected credentials are Master of Wine and Master Sommelier. Beer has the Cicerone program. I'm even a Certified Cider Professional. Now, a new program has launched specifically to confirm your expertise in whiskey.

The Los Angeles-based Council of Whiskey Masters has announced programs to become both a Master of Whiskey and a Master of Scotch, according to The Drinks Business. Established last year, the Council of Whiskey Masters—which has an advisory board made up of wine professionals including both Masters of Wine and a Master Sommelier—was created because "prior to the founding of CWM, there had been no worldwide education and certification body or program specifically dedicated to whiskey," the group explains on its website. Now, people looking to further a career in whiskey can get started with the organizations two Level I programs: Certified Scotch Professional (CSP) and Certified Bourbon Professional (CBP).

The one-hour, hundred-question test is offered four times each year at exam centers in the United States, Europe, and Canada. Topics for the Scotch program, which costs $395, includes things like the history of distillation and Scotch, modern Scotch production methods, Scotch regions and distilleries, and, of course, "appreciation methods." (Sadly, no tasting appears to be required to earn a Level I certificate.) One sample question offered is "Order the following distilleries by their traditional use of peat, from lightest to heaviest: (1) Lagavulin (2) Talisker (3) Laphroiag (4) Glenmorangie."

From there, those serious about moving up the ladder can continue on to Level II: Certified Whiskey Specialist (CWS), set to launch later this year, Level III: Master of Scotch (SM), set to begin in 2020, and finally Level IV: Master of Whiskey (WM), which will purportedly be launched in 2021.

"With growing interest in Scotch and Bourbon, drinks professionals can demonstrate their dedication to and expertise in whiskey through a demanding course and examination from anywhere in the world," the Council of Whiskey Masters told The Drinks Business. Frankly, it beats the old way of showing your dedication to whiskey: falling asleep with a bottle of Jack Daniel's in your hand.