I want to know whisky

The majority of the whisky knowledge which I’ve built up over the past 10 years has mainly been from “on the job” training.  Before I started working at Oban Distillery, I didn’t have a clue about whisky, and if I’m honest, I didn’t like the stuff either.  However, the five summers I spent at the distillery gave me a good base of knowledge which I’ve continued to build up over the years.  For those not lucky enough to be able to follow this route though, new online companion ‘I want to know whisky’ is the perfect introduction.

Designed and created in Edinburgh, by hospitality group Montpeliers (Edinburgh) Ltd and Flow Hospitality Training, the new interactive gift experience takes ‘students’ on a journey through the culture, craft, tasting and serving of Scotland’s national drink.  It also comes with an endorsement from whisky guru Charles MacLean, so I sat down last Sunday afternoon and started my very own journey.

The experience is broken down into six modules, which starts with the history and heritage, before moving through to production, tasting tips, how to distinguish between different styles, world whiskies and a range of cocktail recipes.  Each section is clear, straight forward, and jargon free, offering up the odd fact or piece of information, with the chance to put your new knowledge to the test at the end of each section.  Some of the sections include videos which have been nicely shot, even if the pipes in the background are slightly twee.

The voiceover gives it the reassuring feel of an audio book, but he was taking up too much of my precious time by talking too slowly, so I turned it down and just read my way through.  Having the voiceover definitely makes it more accessible though.  The whole experience takes around two and a half hours and tests user’s knowledge with a fun final exam.  Helpfully, a lot of the information is also included in easy to print out PDFs, which included whisky cocktails, lists of distilleries and interesting facts.

Although the guide was possibly a touch too basic for me, I definitely learnt some new and interesting facts – especially about the history of whisky – and I’d imagine the pace and content is ideal for a compete beginner or someone with only passing knowledge about whisky.  I also think it would be a great training tool for bartenders, who can often be woefully misinformed about whisky, which can leave a bad impression with international visitors.

Priced at £24.95, ‘I want to know whisky’ – which comes beautifully packaged – can be bought at www.iwanttoknowwhisky.co.uk.