Media Release: Global demand for Scotch whisky learning 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, one of the world’s leading malt whisky specialists, 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:


Notes to editors:

[1] Over the last ten years, enrolment for the CD Rom version of the Whisky course has included people from the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, The Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

About Gordon & MacPhail:

Gordon & MacPhail is an independent, family-owned spirit and wine merchant who have been based in Elgin, Moray, since 1895. Four generations of the Urquhart family have continued the tradition of seeking out the best and rarest Scotch whiskies.

Since its foundation, Gordon & MacPhail’s policy has been to send casks to distilleries throughout Scotland, fill them with ‘new make’ spirit and mature them either at the distillery of origin or in the firm’s own bonded warehouses in Elgin.

Now one of the world’s leading malt whisky specialists, Gordon & MacPhail exports to more than 55 countries. It offers more than 450 presentations of own-bottled single malts and has a stock-holding of more than 700 whiskies. In 2009, Gordon & MacPhail was awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

In 1993, the company purchased Benromach Distillery in nearby Forres. After extensively re-equipping the distillery over a five year period, Benromach was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles in October 1998. The award winning range includes Benromach 10 Years Old and Benromach Organic – the world’s first single malt to be certified by the Soil Association.

About Moray College UHI:

Moray College UHI is a partner in the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) which has only recently become Scotland’s newest university. The college has its origins in Elgin Technical College, which was founded in 1971 and which changed its name to Moray College following the incorporation of Scotland’s Colleges in 1993.

With over 9,800 students, Moray College UHI provides a wide range of courses covering many subject areas at various levels of study which meet the needs of a diverse range of people. The rich landscape and energetic community of the surrounding area form a key component of many courses, through study tours and work placements.

The college has a commitment to bring out the very best from its students, at all the various levels of attainment, and some of its proudest moments are in following the subsequent careers of so many of them. It seeks to provide the skills and knowledge and ways of thinking to shape a new generation, and warmly welcomes students from all places and all age groups and all walks of life.

About The Scotch Whisky Association:

Scotch whisky, which by law must be made in Scotland, is one of the UK’s leading export industries generating £3.45billion for the balance of trade. It is an icon for Scotland is almost 200 countries around the world.

The Scotch Whisky Association represents the interests of distillers, bottlers, blenders and brand owners at home and abroad.

Its objective is to facilitate long term growth worldwide by promoting Scotch whisky as a spirit of the highest quality produced in Scotland from natural ingredients, encouraging responsible consumption of alcohol as part of a modern, healthy lifestyle, protecting the integrity of Scotch whisky if necessary through the courts, and negotiating for the removal of trade barriers or disproportionate regulatory measures that undermine the competitiveness of the Scotch whisky industry.

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Contact: Lynne Veitch
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