Edinburgh Whiskey Academy (EWA) I met him earlier last year. I came across EWA while researching training and certificate programs in order to use time in the most efficient way and to focus on a little different things in those times when most of us were confined to our homes. I have completed almost all the online trainings of EWA, which has both online and offline training. I shared the details and my experiences about these trainings on veviski.com. (You can take a look here). In the following period, dear Yiğit Akdemir, who started to give trainings for EWA in Turkey. (Uzkeba) I had the opportunity to attend the “Introduction to Whiskey Certificate” training.

EWA was one of the first places I contacted after I moved to London. After a short online meeting with dear Kirsty and Ian, the founders of the academy, whom I met via e-mail, they were kind enough to invite me to EWA, their academy in Edinburgh.

In this article, I join you in Edinburgh. “Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whiskey” I will share my experiences from the (The Art of Whiskey Tasting) training.

A little good news for you: It is possible to take EWA's trainings in Turkish as well. “Certificate of Scotch Whiskey” to the program “VEVISK” koduyla kaydolarak %10 indirim kazanabilirsiniz. İndirim kodu 31 Temmuz’a kadar geçerli olacak. (Training link)

First of all, let me start by briefly talking about EWA. Established in 2015 Edinburgh Whiskey Academy, based in Scotland/Edinburgh, has a very rich content prepared by different experts who have worked in the sector for many years, Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) an approved independent body. 

EWA founder Kirsty McKerrow (Left) and her brother Ian McKerrow (Right), Finance and Business Development

The Academy has many training courses in different content such as Diploma in Single Malt Whiskey, Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whiskey, Certificate in Irish Whiskey, Certificate in Scotch Whiskey, Diploma in Gin. For example, while Single Malt Whiskey training is more about whiskey production, Art of Tasting Whiskey, which I attended, focuses more on tasting fundamentals and whiskey characters.

The academy, which first started with offline, that is, face-to-face training, quickly translated these trainings into an online format, allowing us to access these contents without the need to go to Edinburgh. As someone who has attended both online and Edinburgh trainings, I can say that the content of online training is at least as rich as offline training. I can even say that online training is more advantageous in terms of allowing you to progress at your own pace in training topics.

Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whiskey

Yes, let's come to my notes from the Art of Tasting Whiskey training…

I recently attended the "Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whiskey" training (July 9, 2021). Taking the opportunity of this one-day training, I decided to visit Edinburgh, which I missed very much, and I made a small travel plan for 2 nights and 3 days. Let me tell you here that I shot a small Vlog about this trip. I shared from both the city, EWA and a few whiskey points. from my youtube channel we can watch.

Very early in the morning of the training, together with a few whiskey aficionados, we were taken from the city center by a private shuttle service to Arniston House, which is about 15 kilometers outside of the city where the training will take place. Arniston House is a magnificent mansion in greenery located on a very large land. Dating back to the 16th century, the mansion has also hosted productions such as Outlander and Darkest Hour.

The training room (Arniston House)

The Art of Tasting Whiskey training was a one-day training lasting approximately 6 hours. In the words of Vic Cameron, who has more than 20 years of industry experience and worked in different companies, especially Diageo, our main focus in education was to understand all the factors affecting the whiskey character and to examine these factors in depth with different examples. In this article, of course, I will not be able to explain each title in detail, but very briefly, I would like to share the highlights of each title with you.

It consists of 4 main topics in education. These;

  1. The Anatomy & Physiology of the Olfactory System
  2. Flavor Development (Formation of Aromas in Whiskey)
  3. The Influence of Oak
  4. Sensory Whiskey Tasting

“The Olfactory System and Smell” We started our education from the very basics. Here we focused on the olfactory system, anatomy and psychology. In my own training, I often state that smelling is the most important element in whiskey tasting. Our sense of smell, which began to develop about 400 million years ago, is one of our most developed muscles. This development is actually based on a very basic logic. We go after the smells we like, and we avoid the ones we don't. This meant life and death in ancient times…

We always talk about smelling as an activity we do only with our nose, but smelling comes in two ways: Orthonasel, that is, the smells we take up from our nose, and Retro nasal, that is, the smells we get while eating or drinking from the back of our palate.

Let me also point out that when we smell, we not only smell different odors, but also access different emotions and memories from our lives by processing these odors in our limbic system. In the training, we strained our nose muscles by trying to make sense of different odor samples by smelling them.

“The Formation of Aromas in Whiskey” Our focus was on whiskey production processes. When talking about the character of whiskey, more emphasis is placed on maturation. But in this training, we also talked about grain, fermentation and distillation stages in depth. In this part, I had the chance to ask our instructor Cameron a lot of questions. I asked him about the effect of water and yeast on whiskey, which has been talked about a lot in recent years. But as far as I can see, these issues are highly controversial. For example, Cameron stated that he thinks the water factor is not effective at all. As an example to this ObanHe showed me how to use tap water.

The whiskey production process is quite complex and a long process based on very different dynamics. Therefore, it would be difficult and wrong to focus on a single factor and comment. For example, although Caol Ila and Lagavulin use the same malt, they reach completely different characters even after distillation. For example, the most influential factor in this example is that 2 brands have different cut points in distillation.

Spirit Safe

In this topic, we tried to understand where they are produced by tasting New Make Spirits (NMS) from different distilleries. Among the samples tasted were brands such as Macallan, Highland Park, Ardbeg, Glenmorangie. I should point out here that Glenmorangie's NMS is fluffy, Macallan's interestingly salty, and Highland Park's rather complex.

“The Effect of Oak on Whiskey” Tastings were also great. Here, we tried to make predictions by tasting the whiskeys aged at different times from different barrels from the Glenrothes and Macallan distillery. Here I realized once again how much I love the character of Sherry...

This episode, where we talked about the anatomy of the oak and all the details about maturation, was very enjoyable and enlightening. Our blind tasting also contributed greatly to the narration.

“Sensory Whiskey Tasting” In the title, we tasted 3 different whiskeys, tried to make sense of each sample by talking at length, and shared our tasting notes. We tried expressions of Glenfiddich 12, Aberlour 12 and Caol Ila 12. Glenfiddich's distinctive pear scent gave away immediately. But Aberlour and Caol Ila were not easy to predict. Saying Glendronach in Aberlour and Bowmore in Caol Ila, I didn't know the right answer, but I got pretty close.

Sabah 09.00 gibi başlayan eğitim 16.00 gibi sona erdi. Eğitim sonrasında ise 45 dakika süren bir sınav oldu. Sınavda 3 farklı modül vardı. Bunlar; The Anatomy & Physiology of the Olfactory System, Flavour Development ve The Influence of Oak. Eğitimde başarılı olarak kabul edilip, sertifikanızı almak için her bölümden minimum %60 almanız gerekiyor. Sınav sonuçları eğitimden birkaç gün sonra bizlerle paylaşıldı.

This training has been a really great experience for me. I look forward to visiting the academy again as soon as possible and taking other trainings. Again, I would like to thank Kirsty and Ian for their invitation and hospitality.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my article, EWA's “Certificate of Scotch Whiskey” to the program “VEVISK” koduyla kaydolarak %10 indirim kazanabilirsiniz. (Training link)

If there are people who attend the training and get their certificate, they always tell me. InstagramIt would be very pleasant to have a short chat about education.

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