COUNCIL OF WHISKEY MASTERS Announces Inaugural Advisory Board Members 

THE COUNCIL OF WHISKEY MASTERS, a U.S. education and certification body for expertise in whisk(e)y, has published the full list of individuals joining the organization’s Advisory Board.

THE COUNCIL OF WHISKEY MASTERS has recently launched a 4-level study & certification program for aspiring and established whiskey professionals. Level 1 of the program provides an introduction to the world of whiskey, via a Scotch track or a Bourbon track. After earning either the “Certified Scotch Professional” (CSP) or “Certified Bourbon Professional” (CBP) designation of Level 1, candidates can pursue comprehensive and global whiskey knowledge by sitting for the Level 2 exam leading to the “Certified Whiskey Specialist” (CWS) designation. Level 2 will provide a detailed treatment of Irish, Canadian and Japanese whiskey, in addition to full coverage of Scotch and American whiskey. From there, candidates can move to the “Master of Scotch” (SM) and “Master of Whiskey” (WM) levels to demonstrate their lifetime dedication and highest competence in the beverage class. 

Since the launch of the program several weeks ago, close to 100 candidates from 14 countries have enrolled in the study program. The study materials and exam content for the program are derived 100% from the written works of Advisory Board members. Registration for the Level 1 exams as well as the Level 2 exam is now available. All study materials are provided by the program, and the exams can be taken anywhere in the world through an efficient online process.

Creating the best chances for this program to become a gold standard in demonstrating and signaling whiskey competence, the organization has called upon some of the world’s most respected authorities in whiskey to provide guidance, share relationships as well as best practices, and to support ongoing stability. Members share a vision of achieving an integrated education path for the wider world of whiskey, based on independent, relevant and objective knowledge standards.

The inaugural Advisory Board consists of the following individuals, in alphabetical order. The list can also be found at

Steve Beal, Sr. Master of Whisky and Keeper of the Quaich, is an industry-recognized distilled spirits consultant, international wine and spirits judge, and former brand ambassador for some of the world’s most respected brands. He has several decades of dedication to whiskey. Steve is a 2015 inductee to the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame. He is based in San Francisco, California.

Dave Broom has been writing, teaching and speaking about spirits for over 30 years and is the author of The World Atlas of Whisky. Dave is a Master of the Quaich, a Kentucky Colonel, and was voted 2013 Communicator of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition. Dave resides on the south coast of England.

Lew Bryson is the former long-time managing editor of Whisky Advocate and the author of the books Tasting Whiskey, and the forthcoming Whiskey Master Class. Lew is also the Senior Drinks writer for The Daily Beast and regularly contributes to other publications. Lew is a member Member of The Order of the Writ, as well a Kentucky Colonel. He lives in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

Martin Duffy is the North American Brand Representative for Glencairn Crystal and is one of the best-connected professionals in the whiskey industry, with past affiliations at Diageo, Bacardi and LVMH. For 14 years, including two years in Ireland, Martin was one of the original Diageo Sr. Masters of Whisky. Mr. Duffy lives in Illinois, where he teaches classes on Irish/Scotch history & production, and for 8 years was the co-producer of the Chicago Independent Spirits Expo.

Rick Edwards, Sr. Master of Scotch, was named “Icon of Whisky” by Whisky Magazine in 2015. Rick began his career with Johnnie Walker & the Classic Malts, and was recently acknowledged with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Pernod-Ricard in New Orleans for his work on The Glenlivet & Chivas Regal.

Serghios Florides is the Editor-in-Chief of Irish Whiskey Magazine which aims to promote Irish whiskey worldwide through collaborations with industry experts and producers. His publication delivers the authentic history and current developments to enthusiasts and those seeking to gain greater insights into the Irish whiskey sector. Serghios is a member of many leading whiskey societies and he currently resides in Dublin, Ireland. 

Michael Fraser Milne is a Master of the Quaich, the highest award in the world of Scotch whisky. He has been focused on education through doing over 1200 tastings, consulting globally and started DramFest in 2007, New Zealands premier whisky festival. Michael was born and brought up in Scotland and today lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, he has owned Whisky Galore for 26 years, the premier whisky-specialty importer and distributor of NZ.

Sebastien Gavillet is the author of Discovering & Mastering Single Malt Scotch Whisky. He serves as the Head of Tasting Panel at the International Whisky Competition, where he designed and developed the current set of judging standards. As COO for Wine Aromas – Le Nez du Vin/Whisky, he oversees US operations and consults internationally. Sebastien resides in Colorado and Nevada.

Tobias Gorn is a Panel Chair Judge and Spirit Ambassador at the International Wine & Spirits Competition and other international competitions worldwide. He is an award winning drinks and cigar writer and has had a sommelier career for Michelin-carrying establishments. Tobias lives in England.

Monique Huston is a Keeper of the Quaich, a WSET Spirits instructor, and panel judge at many national and global whiskey competitions. She currently serves as the National Director of Spirits for Winebow, one of the leading wine & spirits importers. Monique also ran one of the largest whiskey programs in the world open to the public, at the famous Dundee Dell in Omaha, Nebraska. Monique currently lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Davin deKergommeaux is the leading voice on Canadian whisky today. He authored the influential book Canadian Whisky: The New Portable Expert, and the forthcoming Definitive Guide to Canadian Distilleries. He founded the Canadian Whisky Awards and has been a judge for the Malt Maniacs Awards and the World Whisky Awards for many years. Davin resides in his home country of Canada. 

Charles MacLean is the author of 17 books about Scotch, including Scotch Whisky: A Liquid History (which was nominated ‘Best Wine & Spirits Book’ in the James Beard Awards 2005). He is a Master of the Quaich and was inducted into the Whisky Hall of Fame in 2017. The Times named him “Scotland’s leading whisky expert” in 2010. He lives in Edinburgh.

Joseph V. Micallef is a wine and whisky educator and the author of the book Scotch Whisky: Its History, Production and Appreciation. He serves as a judge for various wine and spirit competitions including the IWSC, World Drinks Awards and Irish Whiskey Awards. He is a contributor at Forbes and International Editor of Irish Whiskey Magazine, and has written extensively on wine. Joe lives in Oregon.

Andrew Moldenhauer has been entrenched in the American sommelier community for many years, as a WSET Diploma Student and a Master of Wine candidate. Currently active as an Independent Whisky Consultant and Educator, he was a former Ambassador for Pernod Ricard and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Andrew resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Peter Mulryan is an author and broadcaster whose most recent book is The Whiskeys of Ireland. He has published and spoken on Irish whiskey extensively around the world, he also blogs on the subject. Peter also serves as the CEO of Blackwater Distillery, who started production of Irish whisky in 2019. 

Arthur Nägele is a respected spirits expert and demanded trainer and advisor for alcoholic beverages. His Spirituosenakademie is one of the leading learning centers on whiskey in continental Europe. He’s a member of the technical Spirits Judging Committee and Chair Judge at the International Wine & Spirits Competition. Based in Switzerland, covering all German language areas of Europe.

Eddie Nara is a renowned spirits industry leader and Whisky Ambassador lead tutor for HK, Macau and China. He is a Certified Spirits Educator accredited by the Society of Wine Educators, an International Spirits judge for IWSC and HKIWSC and an esteemed cocktail judge. Eddie’s commitment to education is invaluable to the industry and he is a mentor and inspiration to many aspiring bar professionals across Asia.

Fionnán O’Connor is the author of A Glass Apart: Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey. He has served as a consultant and lecturer for distilleries across Ireland and was the recipient of a 2018 research PhD grant to investigate the history of lost Irish mash bills. He lives in Dublin and continues to contribute articles to books and magazines within the trade.  

Hans Offringa is the author of the book A Field Guide to Whisky. He is a Keeper of the Quaich, a Kentucky Colonel, Lifetime International Ambassador of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Founder of International Whisky Day, Honorary Ambassador of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and Patron of the Whisky Festival North Netherlands. He resides partly in The Netherlands and partly in South Carolina.

Marcy Rudershausen, One of the original Diageo Sr. Masters of Whisky, Marcy was inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich in Scotland in 2010. Active in whiskey judging and conducting educational whisky seminars, Marcy has worked around the world as the principal of her whiskey-specialized consulting firm. She lives in South Florida.

Bernhard Schäfer, Master of the Quaich, is a whiskey journalist, industry consultant, and panel member of various whiskey competitions across Europe as well as the United States, including the International Wine & Spirits Competition and the World Whisky Awards. He is a co-founder of the European Network of Spirit Experts and resides in his native Germany, where he also lectures on spirits extensively.

Jack W. Smith, Jr., Keeper of the Quaich, is the founding President of the Metro Atlanta Scotch Club. He is an experienced seminar leader on whiskey and holds the Certified Spirits Specialist designation. Jack leads aficionado groups on full-immersion tours to Scotland annually.

To learn more about THE COUNCIL OF WHISKEY MASTERS visit, or write to


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