New Scotch and Bourbon Study and Certification Program Officially Launches

The Council of Whiskey Masters, based in Los Angeles, has introduced a dedicated certification program for whiskey professionals.

Two separate Level 1 tracks, Certified Scotch Professional (CSP) and Certified Bourbon Professional (CBP), are now open for student enrollment.

“While several organizations offer credentialing programs for spirits, no specialized and rigorous self-study program has been available globally for Scotch or bourbon, nor for whiskey in general,” the company says in a release. “The new whiskey credentialing program provides a value that was missing so far, and adds to the range of already well-known and respected wine specialist and sommelier credentials.” 

To prepare for the exam, candidates enrolled in the CSP or CBP programs (Level 1) receive a detailed 100-page study guide. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, with an exam time of one hour. To pass the exam, candidates must achieve a score of 80% or above. Exam dates are offered four times per year in local exam centers throughout the United States, Europe and Canada. Candidates receive a diploma and a lapel pin upon passing the exam, and may carry the corresponding postnominal after their names.

Passing either Level 1 exam (Scotch track or Bourbon track) allows candidates to register for the comprehensive Certified Whiskey Specialist (CWS; Level 2) exam, and they can later proceed to the Master of Scotch (SM, Level 3) and Master of Whiskey (WM, Level 4) levels.

Program and registration information as well as curriculum overview and sample exam questions can be found at



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