Located at the campus of Buffalo Trace distillery, judges and candidates underwent three days of training, tasting and examination, leading to the identification of the inaugural class of Masters of Bourbon as well as the Scotch class.
The examination comprised of a blind tasting exam, a detailed oral theory exam and a six-question essay exam.
The international judging panel consisted of Council board members, made up of only globally recognised whiskey authorities. The year’s senior judges in residence included:
• Steve Beal
• Lew Bryson
• Marty Duffy
• Sebastian Gavillet
• Tobias Gorn
• Monique Huston
• Arthur Nägele
• Bernhard Schäfer
New Council members serving for the first time as full judges included:
• Dan Crowell
• Jerad Justesen
• Guy Sporbert
• John Wabeck
• Sam Wright
Judges evaluated each candidate independently and elected new Master’s based upon standards developed by the Council themselves. Individuals must first pass the certified bourbon or scotch professional exam, followed by passing the certified whiskey specialist exam, in order to become a candidate in the master program.
The following individuals joined the Council of Whiskey Masters as members for life following the examinations:
• Chase Henry (Master of Bourbon)
• Mark Rucker (Master of Bourbon)
• Tom McCormick (Master of Bourbon)
• Jay Jordan (Master of Bourbon)
• Justin Strumpfer (Master of Bourbon)
• Justin Boyer (Master of Scotch)
• Adam Edmonsond (Master of Scotch)
• Siddharth Sawkar (Master of Scotch)
The next set of on-site master exams are expected to take place in the West Highlands of Scotland next spring.
All program information can be found here, with a full list of Masters and board members published at the Whiskey Masters website.