Where is the WSET School in London?
WSET have an array of course locations in the UK and internationally, and we visited the London site on Bermondsey Street, just a few minutes walk from London Bridge Station and conveniently located for those in London or travelling into London.
What Courses are Available?
WSET offer courses in spirits, wine and sake. For gin and spirits enthusiasts and those working in related industries, WSET offers 2 courses:
What do the Courses Cover?
From visiting the Level 1 Award in Spirits course, students were given a thorough overview of spirit production processes and the key factors that influence the flavour and character of each spirit. This was followed by detailed introductions to each of the key spirit categories, including cognac, vodka, whisky, rum, tequila and liquors, as well as their sub-categories (such as white rum, golden and dark rum).
Discussion of each category is followed by a tutored tasting of different varieties of each spirit, with expert guidance on how to taste and describe them, what to look for, key characteristics, and differences between each variety. The day's learning is completed with an introduction on to how to serve spirits, and some bar basics.
The Level 2 Award takes each of these elements much further, such as covering variations in production methods and the impact these have, and more detail on the characteristics of each spirit.
Who Would Enjoy & Benefit from the Courses?
The Level 1 Award is a very accessible course. We spoke to students who were working in the spirits or bar industry and who were wanting to learn more and to formalise their learning, as well as others who simply enjoy or have an interest in spirits and wanted to find out more about what they're drinking. Whether it is part of your career path or out of personal interest, it is a very well suited course and no prior knowledge or experience of spirits is required or expected.
WSET's spirits courses provide a wealth of information in a well presented and well paced way. Whilst the exam at the end of each course is a very formal affair, the day is enjoyable, thoroughly interesting and valuable to spirits enthusiasts and professionals alike. And the next time you're at a bar and someone asks the difference between whisky and whiskey, you'll have the answer!
With gin being classed as a flavoured spirit, it gets limited coverage in the spirits courses, however, much of the content on spirits production methods and tasting is directly relevant to gin and very insightful for gin enthusiasts. If gin is your favoured tipple, go with an open mind to learn more about the wonderful world of spirits (especially given how many gin producers have their own craft whisky ageing in barrels as we speak...).
We highly recommend WSET courses for taking your spirits knowledge to the next level. Find out more about WSET courses and find your nearest course provider at www.wsetglobal.com