Thoughts on if anyone has taken the WSET Spirits classes and of you have benefitted from them? What level have you finished?
I’m currently enrolled in Level 3. So far it’s a great program–much like WSET’s wine courses (which was my introduction to them), it is a really solid foundation for spirits knowledge. I think that, since spirits are a bit more of a squishy subject than wine–with fewer laws and regulations hemming in production (not to mention the fact that distillation is a far more complex and choice-driven process than winemaking, with many more possible style outcomes)–the course is a bit more flexible/open in its conclusions than I remember the wine course being. I think this is a good thing.
It does seem like WSET has an understanding that spirits education cannot and should not be formalized as much as wine education has been, and I think that’s important. Plenty of roads are left untravelled in the course, it more serves as a jumping-off point for personal study in your area(s) of interest.
All that being said, my education is being paid for by a generous employer, which made my decision to take it much less fraught. If money is a concern, I’d say that you would be equally well-served and probably $1000 richer by just buying a copy of the Oxford Companion instead, and devoting a couple months of deep-study to that.
Thanks for the insight. I am going to be taking the WSET Spirits Level III class in March. Looking forward to it. And yes, the Oxford Companion is definitely helpful and a pleasure a to read as well.