International Spirits Challenge goes to Scotland

The whisky element of the International Spirits Challenge is to be held in Scotland and will feature a chance to meet the judges.

Master blenders from around the world are to gather at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh to judge over 300 whiskies from distilleries across the globe.

The 10-strong judging panel comprises master blenders from Japan, Sweden, the US, Scotland and Ireland including Richard Paterson of Whyte & MacKay, Gordon Motion of Edrington Distillers, David Stewart of William Grants and Caroline Martin of Diageo. It will be chaired by John Ramsay, former master blender of Edrington Distillers and its Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark blended whiskies.

Each product is blind tasted and awarded a score out of 20 for its aroma, appearance, taste and finish. The scores are then collated and recorded, before Trophy, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded.

Chairman John Ramsay said: “Having been involved with the International Spirits Challenge as a judge for 15 years and chairman for the last four, it is with immense pride that we are able to bring the judging of the whisky element home to Scotland for the first time.”

Visitors to The Scotch Whisky Experience will also be able to catch a glimpse of the connoisseurs at work, with judging streamed via a live webcam linked directly to the Whisky Shop.

Susan Morrison, director and general manager at The Scotch Whisky Experience, said: “We feel honoured and privileged to have been selected to host the first International Spirits Challenge event to take place outside of London."

Whisky enthusiasts will have the opportunity to meet the judges and join the panel in a tutored tasting at an exclusive reception: An Evening with the Master Blenders.

The evening will conclude with a question and answer session hosted by chairman John Ramsay. Tickets are priced at £25 per person and are available from The Scotch Whisky Experience. For further details visit