A recent article on Scotchwhisky.com website has ignited the debate about what should be accepted as the difference between a Scotch Whisky Masterclass and a Tasting….

For the full article “Stop Abusing the Word Masterclass” – click here.

The main argument can be captured in the following extract:

“My point is this: if a MasterBlender or a MasterDistiller or even a Master of the Quaich is hosting a tutored tasting, then by all means call it a Masterclass. If, however, someone who has been in the job three months and has read a few books on the subject [insert disparaging comment about shovel toe shoes, high street tweed and beard oil here] is presenting you with an entry-level NAS whisky, a 10-year-old at 40% abv and a limited edition, travel retail special, 11-year-old herring cask finish – for God’s sake, please just call it a tasting…

To be blunt: if I haven’t heard of you, it ain’t a Masterclass …

Whisky attracts a special kind of person. Often they are so interested – obsessed, if you will – with detail that they might be on some form of spectrum. Sometimes these types take pleasure in exposing any shortcomings in the presenter’s knowledge.

So, if there is any danger that an audience member is likely to know more about the subject than you do, don’t say you are hosting a ‘Masterclass’.” – Scotchwhisky.com “A Whisky Veteran”

I have to admit that this article holds a few truths and for sure we have to somehow clearly differentiate a session run by a Master Distiller or Master Blender who are involved in actively creating this wonderful product and living it every day in a much more intimate manner.

As Patsy Christie , a Mixologist, Drinks Ambassador and Trainer says:

“Everyday it seems there’s another opinion piece taking aim at whisky marketing tactics; yesterday it was BrandAmbassador’s … today it’s Masterclasses … tomorrow, who knows … maybe it’ll be how the term luxury can apply to mass production. As a former Brand Ambassador, it pains me to admit it, but these rants hold truths. Whisky consumers hate being sold to … the more obvious the sales pitch, the more they hate it. My advice to brands; don’t get lazy.”

Please reach out to Patsy if interested in connecting with her, she is also involved in projects such as The Bartending Tree of Knowledge – click here for more information.

Personally, I still believe in the mantra of “every day is a school day” and continue to apply this into learning more every day about Scotch whisky and the industry. And in line with the argument, I have only organised tastings in the past, such as the one below….

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