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Whisky sommelier

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Whisky sommelier

Postby Chef! » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:23 pm

How does one rate as a whisky sommelier? With wine both America and Europe offer in-depth courses and ratings.

Is there a course for whisky out there or means to get certified? Definitely have a lot to learn still but would eventually like to pursue such an avenue in the distant future.
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Re: Whisky sommelier

Postby Chef! » Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:58 pm

I suppose it would depend on the class. For example, CIA Greystone offers wine classes that can really teach every aspect of wine, help you develop your palate, help translate what your tastebuds experience and even expose you to very rare wines as part of the tuition. Good classes but you may or may not rate depending on what course you took and the criteria.

A sommelier rating on a resume simply means you're dedicated enough to get certified for your profession and you know a thing or two. In my experience it's certainly not a palate rating but definitely a passion-driven one that scores kuddos... Although I can think of more sommelier qualified front of the house workers that really impressed me over non-rated ones. One I can recall earned very high French and American marks, won a regional server of the year award, and could just about point-out what brand gloves the pickers used during harvest.

But in my industry it would simply be wallpaper.
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Re: Whisky sommelier

Postby Knolly » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:32 am

Over the past few years my wife finished off her Sommelier diploma "in her spare time" (she works outside the food / wine industry for her day job).

Obviously she learned a ton (and ended up working part time at a wine store for a while), but more surprising was that I learned a huge amount as well. I never considered myself a huge wine fan (just beer and spirits!), but after participating in a lot of the tastings that she was doing, my enjoyment of wine started to really increase.

She took the ISG program (https://www.internationalsommelier.com/) and completed the sommelier diploma program. The ISG program seemed to focus quite a bit on restaurant planning and serving as well as the actual aspects of wine. The course material mainly covered wine, but they did receive basic knowledge on spirits; most of us here would have better general knowledge about whisky and other spirits that we enjoy, though they obviously covered spirits in a structured manner.

While doing the ISG program, she found out about another program called WSET (http://www.wset.co.uk/) which stands for Wine & Spirits Education Trust. The cool thing about WSET is that it - apparently - aims to be a little more global in its reach (whereas perhaps the ISG is a bit more N. American oriented - not in wine - but in course structure and relevance). Anyway that was the feeling that she got.

Anyway - to get to my long overdue point - WSET offers courses in spirits. The other cool thing about WSET is that the courses are modular, so you can more or less take what interests you if you're just taking them for general knowledge. I'll probably take one or two of their spirits course just for general knowledge over the next year or two.

Hope that helps - cheers!
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Re: Whisky sommelier

Postby Chef! » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:45 am

Thanks for posting this! I am fammiliar in the ISG program but not in the WSET program! I would be interested in their lvl2 spirit or lvl3 wine and spirit although this may be a bit of a deal breaker for me:

Please note that examinations for the qualification courses are only available at the London Wine & Spirit School in London Bridge and on limited dates in Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham.

I sent their admissions dept. an email to be sure. Will post here once I get an answer.
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Re: Whisky sommelier

Postby Chef! » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:00 am

I got an answer from their admin dept. Apparently there are a number of schools near metropolitan areas in the US and Canada. You can either enroll for a classroom course or opt for the lesser expensive correspondence courses.

If you go the classroom route you get a more hands-on approach. If you enroll in the correspondence course it is cheaper but only because alcohol is not part of the tuition. You still also have to sit the final exam at the nearest school to pass.

I am planning on enrolling for their Spirits Professional class on Jan 16-17.
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Re: Whisky sommelier

Postby Knolly » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:39 am

Chef! wrote:I got an answer from their admin dept. Apparently there are a number of schools near metropolitan areas in the US and Canada. You can either enroll for a classroom course or opt for the lesser expensive correspondence courses.

If you go the classroom route you get a more hands-on approach. If you enroll in the correspondence course it is cheaper but only because alcohol is not part of the tuition. You still also have to sit the final exam at the nearest school to pass.

I am planning on enrolling for their Spirits Professional class on Jan 16-17.


Awesome! My wife is planning on doing WSET as well: the classes and the organization apparently have a very good reputation. Should be interesting to see how it pans out for her; keep us up to date on how your classes are!

Cheers!
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