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Our history

Edinburgh Whisky Academy is an innovative shift in whisky education. With family roots dating back to the 19th Century, it marks the next chapter of our family’s involvement in the industry.

The family’s commitment to pioneering in the whisky industry through the generations is unquestionable. Our forefathers created the family blended whisky, Mackinlay’s in the early 1800s. Mackinlay’s was the first blended whisky to be offered at the Houses of Parliament in 1882 and was the official Scotch to the legendary Shackleton expedition of 1907. The original order was even signed by Ernest Shackleton himself, who wrote in the order “for medicinal purposes only”.

More recently our father instigated the progressive ‘cradle to grave’ cask philosophy at Glenmorangie in the 1980s before launching the first ‘wood finish’ whisky, an innovation that revolutionised the whisky industry.

It is the inheritance of this inventive spirit which led to the creation of an independent and multifaceted curriculum, dedicated to the history, production and appreciation of Scotland’s most renowned export.

The inspiration for the Academy came to Kirsty while she was the Swedish Brand Ambassador for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. With her excellent brand training, Kirsty wanted to take her fundamental whisky knowledge to the next level. Frustrated by the lack of credible, brand-neutral whisky courses on the market, she returned to Scotland to establish an independent and accredited Academy that would deliver comprehensive yet, concise courses in an accessible and engaging format.

In September 2016, Kirsty launched the Diploma in Single Malt Whisky. In the first year, the Academy received glowing press from whisky aficionados. Keen whisky enthusiasts, as well as sommeliers, global brand managers, bar managers and brand ambassadors embraced the course. The Academy has grown rapidly due its universal reputation as the ‘go-to’ whisky education provider.

In Spring 2018 the Academy launched their Diploma in Gin and in late 2018 launched an online Introduction to Whisky Certificate. Further courses are currently being developed with the Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whisky launching in Spring 2019.

The Academy is the only centre of whisky education fully accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. This ensures it is rigorous and robust, delivering knowledge and content to the highest possible standards. It also means those undertaking the courses are fully assessed on their learning and knowledge.