The WhiskeySomms

The best whiskey is

the whiskey you like


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The alchemists invented whiskey over a thousand years ago. Thinking they had magically extracted the spirit of laughter and happiness from beer, they drank their new beverage with religious reverence and called it, “The Water of Life.” 

All these years later, whiskey lovers still agree with that sentiment. And now, Joe and Kate Van Name, The WhiskeySomms, will unlock the secrets of this ancient beverage at your own personal guided whiskey tasting event. 

Trust me; you do not want to miss a whiskey tasting event hosted by The WhiskeySomms. And the best news of all: If you are a beginner, curious about whiskey but a little afraid to try it, Joe and Kate LOVE helping new whiskey drinkers learn the basics and ease gently into the global community of whiskey lovers.

Our Travels

Our passion goes beyond the spirit itself.  We honor those who make the whiskey that we love.  From Scotland to Ireland to Kentucky, we listen to the stories, appreciate the heritage and the land  - but mostly we like to meet the people who make whiskey. 

Recent Trips - Highland Park, Scapa, The Balvanie, Clynelish, Oban, Tobermory, Old Pulteney, Glenmorangie, Dalmore, Tomatin, Wolfburn, Balblair, Dalwhinnie, Ben Nevis, Teeling, Tullamore Dew, Killbeggan, Copper Fox, Blackwater, Jameson, and Powers.

Upcoming Trips - Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Jura, Bruichladdich, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Kilchoman and Bowmore.

Our Tastings

You’re going on an epic journey, my happy adventurer.  Invite your closest friends to join you as you learn the history and nature of Scotch, the briny, smoky beverage of the moors and highlands of the old country. Then across the ocean to celebrate Scotland's rebellious child, American Bourbon, rich amber in color and bursting with sugar and spice. Along the way, Irish, Canadian, and Japanese spirits will be explored, contrasted, and compared. A magical experience of the senses.  Examples of tastings:

Irish Whiskey Tasting - Whiskey Facts and Irish Tales

Northern Lights Tasting

Robert Burns Night Celebration

I Spy Rye Tasting

Six Senses of Whiskey Tasting

The Derby of Whiskey Tastings

George Washington and Whiskey

Exciting Tasting Adventure Options

The SpiritLadies

The WhiskeySomms have a great regard for women who love whiskey - and those who don't yet know they love whiskey!  SpiritLadies Events are fun with whiskey tastings, whiskey inspired cocktails (no umbrellas) and great food pairings. 


207Whisky experts share their extensive knowledge and love of fine whiskeys from around the world.  Their events are unparalleled - sharing their passion for rare and old whiskies.  A wonderful gift for someone who has everything - and for those who truly appreciate sampling from a closed distillery or a limited release. 

Open to the Public

The best way to learn about whisky and share that love is find a relaxing spot, drink whisky and talk about it! We'll announce great events you are welcome to attend - come back often for updates.

For The Whisk(e)y Tribe

Ah, The Whisk(e)y Tribe and Vault members... you know who you are. If you are in or visiting the MD/DC/VA area, knock 3 times, spin clockwise once, and email The WhiskeySomms. We'll do some shenanigans and whisk(e)y tastings - in that order. 

Where The WhiskeySomms Learn

Whiskey Marketing School

The Whiskey Marketing School is in Austin, Texas.  The WhiskeySomms are certified Level 3 Whiskey Sommeliers and attend, learn, teach at, and support our school every chance we can. This is the school where we learned how to share our love of whisky in a way that connects people to the history and the stories of whiskey. We study and discover the culture and the methods that have been developed over hundreds of years - so we can share it with you.

Edinburgh Whisky Academy

The WhiskeySomms believe in continuing education.  The EWA’s accredited diploma program is unique and highly sought after.  It is for those who want a comprehensive understanding of single malt whisky, including its history and traditions, production process, maturation and the rather pleasant business of tasting and swallowing it.

Please contact us at least 4 weeks before your tasting event for planning and scheduling. Evenings and weekends only.

The WhiskeySomms