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Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whisky

Course Itinerary

1 day course

Candidates will be collected from outside Motel One-Edinburgh Royal at 7.30am.  A breakfast will be served on arrival.

The day starts with an odour recognition test before moving on to learn about oak and maturation. Candidates will test a variety of different aged spirit and whiskies before moving on to learn about flavour manipulation.

There will be a formal assessment at the end of the day.  Candidates will be dropped in Edinburgh at approximately 5pm.

Venue: About Arniston House

The Whisky Diplomas are taught at Arniston House, a magnificent Palladian-style mansion located near Gorebridge, just to the south of Edinburgh. An architectural gem, the house was designed in 1726 by William Adam on a site that has been home to the Dundas family for over 400 years. Set in extensive gardens and parkland, Arniston House is a truly idyllic venue, providing a relaxing and inspirational setting in which to learn. Learn more about Arniston House.

  • Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whisky Arniston House, Midlothian

The Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whisky is a fun and interactive course exploring all things sensory. 

Candidates will learn in detail about the olfaction system in humans before undertaking an odour recognition test and challenging their own olfactory system to recognise the odours they are given.

Wood is paramount in flavour development so focus will be on learning about the different reactions that take place during maturation.  Candidates will be taught a variety of different assessment techniques used by sensory panels whilst boosting their flavour recognition and flavour description skills.

This Diploma is awarded by the SQA and is the first and only whisky sensory course on the market.

Please note that The Multi-Sensory Experience and an Overview of the Production Process are pre-course reading modules and candidates must read and understand them before attending the course.

  • Course Overview

  • Course Length: 1 day
  • Preparatory Reading: 2 hours
  • Who is it aimed at? Brand Ambassadors, whisky professionals, hospitality professionals, whisky enthusiasts and sommeliers
  • Venue: Arniston House (or, for groups, a venue of your choice)
  • Price: £495
  • Modules Included

  • The Anatomy and Physiology of the Olfactory System
  • The Multi-Sensory Experience
  • Odour Recognition
  • Flavour Origination
  • Flavour Development
  • The Influence of Oak

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need prior knowledge?

There is no requirement of prior knowledge for this course. However, candidates are expected to have basic knowledge of the distillation process. We recommend that those candidates with minimal knowledge undertake the Introduction to Whisky Certificate in advance of attending this course to ensure they get the most out of the Diploma.

How do I get to Arniston House?

Transport Is provided from central Edinburgh to Arniston House. Edinburgh offers a wide range of accommodation choices to suit all budgets.

Is food provided?

Yes. A breakfast of bacon rolls is provided on arrival, followed by a 2 course lunch. Teas, coffees and fruit are available throughout the day.

Is there any preparatory work I need to do?

Yes, candidates need to read and understand the pre-course reading modules that will be emailed to them upon payment of the course. The modules cover the Multi-Sensory Experience and The Anatomy and Physiology of the Olfactory System.  These are delivered via pdf.

The Anatomy and Physiology of the Olfactory System is assessed so we recommend 2 hours study time for this module.

How long is the assessment and does it cover everything?

The assessment is 45 minutes long and is in multi-choice format. It covers 4 of the modules (The Anatomy and Physiology of the Olfactory System, Flavour Origination, Flavour Development and The Influence of Oak).

Candidates must achieve 60% in each module in order to pass the Diploma.

If I do not pass 1 of the modules do I need to retake the whole exam?

No, candidates only need to resit the modules where they did not achieve 60%.

Do I have to come to the Academy to retake the assessment?

No. Where possible we will use our network of invigilators to assist in invigilating a retake. On the odd occasion where this isn’t possible we can use the Prometric assessment centres although there will be an additional fee of €115 for use of the assessment centre.