5 Levels of Certification

Each class at Whisky Marketing School represents 1 level of certification in our 5-part Whisky Certification Course.

We require that you wait a minimum of 6 months between certification levels so that you have time to build your palate, knowledge of whisky, and experience in tasting and presenting.

It will take an absolute minimum of 2 years for you to become a Level 5 Whisky Sommelier. More likely it will be 10+ years.

You can take the first class without a decade of whisky experience, but you may not pass. A general understanding of whisky, the history, the categories, and the flavors will have you ready to go. We view the level one course as an education in the fundamentals of the whisky category.

After level one, we have industry and experience requirements that have to be met before you can register and attend. There’s also a minimum of six months between courses. As of right now, we are still building the level four and five certifications.

If anyone fails the test portions, they are allowed to return and retake it the next time we hold that course.

The Breakdown of a Class

Instruction

We view our whisky certification the same way that martial arts views achieving a first level black belt.

Achieving the medallion is not a marker that you have arrived and are now done.

It’s a sign that you have an understanding of the fundamentals of whisky so that you can begin a lifetime of study and education.

Our classes take two days at a time, but you will spend the rest of your life understanding and exploring the world of whisky.

The Fundamentals of Class Instruction

We will spend half of each class focusing on the facts, history, and information you need to know to accurately communicate whisky to those around you.

We then focus on deductive tasting training and the science of how your brain interprets taste and smell. You need the fundamentals to start building a catalog of patterns and historical markers to explore what you’re drinking.

Our final time is spent developing storytelling techniques, public speaking practice, and exploring applications of our knowledge.

5 Levels of Certification

To complete a course you will be tested on specific things at each level.

Level 1 Certification – World of Whisky

History and Practical Knowledge of the primary whisky regions from around the world including the Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the United States, and Japan (written test requiring 75% passing grade)

Public Speaking and Storytelling

Palate competency training and deductive tasting

Level 2 Certification -American Whiskey

Focus on Bourbon and American Whiskey (written test requiring 75% passing grade)

Public Speaking and Storytelling

Palate competency training and food pairing science

Training in the art of competitive whisky judging

Level 3 Certification – Scottish and Irish Whisk(e)y

Focus on Scottish, Irish, and UK Whisky, the history, and the distilleries (written test requiring 75% passing grade)

Public Speaking and Storytelling

Palate competency training and food pairing science

Training in Whisky blending

Level 4 Certification – In Development

Level 5 Certification – In Development