Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Global thirst for learning about Scotch whisky quenched

A course designed to give an understanding of Scotch whisky is being launched online today (Wednesday 8 June, 2011) in a bid to satisfy increasing global demand from students.

Created by Moray College UHI, in partnership with Gordon & MacPhail, the World’s Leading Malt Whisky Specialist, the 20 hour online course can be studied anytime, anywhere with internet access. It aims to introduce students to the Scotch whisky industry and covers the history of whisky making, the production process and marketing. A section on whiskies from around the world, including Canada and Japan, is also covered to highlight the differences across the globe.

Delivered along with eight whisky miniatures and three sampling glasses the course also helps to develop skills in nosing and tasting so students can appreciate the general characteristics of different styles and types of whisky, including single and blended malts.

Moray College UHI originally joined forces with Gordon & MacPhail to develop a residential whisky course, which was then developed into an open learning course available as a CD- Rom. Following growing registration from students overseas, from Austria to Australia, it is now available as an interactive, online course - making it even more accessible.

Michael Urquhart, Joint Managing Director at Gordon & MacPhail, said:
“It is exciting to see more people from different cultures and walks of life developing an interest and enthusiasm for Scotch whisky. By going online, this unique course is helping even more people across the globe learn about its origins and the many different varieties available.

“The increasing international appeal in whisky is also reflected in the growing number of exports of our very own handcrafted single malt, Benromach, which has seen particular growth throughout Europe, North America, South Africa and Japan over the last year.”

Master distiller, Jim Cryle, is the tutor for the course and regarded as one of the greatest authorities in Scotch whisky. Retired as manager from The Glenlivet Distillery he brings to the course a broad expertise of whisky making including malting, distilling and quality control. Coupled with Gordon & MacPhail’s extensive knowledge and history of Scotch whisky spanning over 100 years and the experience of Moray College UHI, a partner in the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), the course delivers an exclusive Scotch whisky learning experience.

Mike Devenney, Principal of Moray College UHI, said:
“The course has proven to be a huge success with people from a very broad range of 21 countries[1], including Estonia, South Africa and Hong Kong, enrolling for the CR-Rom over the last ten years.

“Converting it to an online format was the natural step in its progression. The technology means we can reach a greater audience and interact with students online via assessments and question and answer sessions. New computer animations clearly illustrate the skill and craft that whisky-making requires and students can introduce their own dimensions to the process to see the consequences of their actions on the final dram.”

Campbell Evans, Director of Government & Consumer Affairs at Scotch Whisky Association said:
"Whether before or after a trip to Scotland, or just because they already enjoy the drink, the use of technology will through this course take Scotch Whisky to living rooms and bars around the world. Better informed bar staff will be able to help their customers, and more knowledgeable consumers will be able to expand their appreciation and love of Scotch Whisky, whether they are in traditional Scotch Whisky export countries or new emerging markets.”

The course leads to a Moray College UHI/Gordon & MacPhail certificate and costs £195. It is open to anyone over 18 years old (age restrictions for the consumption of alcohol may differ in overseas markets) with an interest in Scotch whisky and may particularly appeal to those working in the whisky, hospitality, leisure and tourism or retail industries.

Further details can also be obtained from Moray College UHI Registry on T: 00 44 (0) 1343 576 309 or email: registry@moray.uhi.ac.uk