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Issue 17 - Positive education

Whisky Magazine Issue 17
July 2001


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Positive education

Martin Betts learnt more than a wealth of whisk(e)y knowledge from Whisky Magazine Live's Masterclasses, he found out that the Master Blenders and Distillers could communicate with the enthusiast without resorting to cliché

Hushed awe, fiery discussions and looks of amazement. Bourbons, blends, cask strengths, malts and experimental cask samples. Blenders, Distillers and whisky experts. A permeable sense of satisfaction.

This is exactly what the many enthusiasts who attended one or more of the 21 Masterclasses at Whisky Magazine Live experienced.

This series of tutored tastings allowed people to learn more about specific whiskies in an intimate atmosphere where every question was answered. Each attendee at the Masterclasses had the opportunity to absorb a wash of detailed information on how each whisk(e)y was produced and participate in pro-active tastings. For example, Chivas Regal's Master Blender, Colin Scott, allowed those who attended his class to mix six whiskies from differing distilling areas of Scotland to create their own unique blend which they could keep in a 100ml bottle – complete with label signed by the kilt-wearing Master Blender. Classes such as the one hosted by Ewan Mitchell of Springbank afforded those who attended the exclusive chance to taste a cask strength expression of Springbank that had been matured exclusively in a Port cask. Ewan has hinted that a release of this whisky, which was described as being “beautifully crafted” by one Masterclass pupil, isn't out of the question in the future.

But the classes were more than just entertaining lectures, the most exciting aspect was the chance for everyone to get close to well-known industry figures such as Elmer T...

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