March 21, 2018 by Valencia Tong
Think you're a true whisk(e)y connoisseur? You've probably seen both versions of the word—whisky and whiskey. What is the difference?
A Japanese man, Masataka Taketsuru, who later became known as the 'Father of Japanese Whisky,' went to the University of Glasgow to study chemistry in 1918. After studying the art of whisky-making in Scotland, he brought whisky to Japan together with his Scottish wife Rita.
There are some differences in the production method, climate, pressure, and altitude of the local environment of distilleries. Learn more about the difference between the two in our previous article on Luxglove 'What Sets Japanese Whisky Apart from Scotch Whisky?'
Other than whisky from Scotland and Japan, whisky from Canada and the rest of the world are spelt without the 'e'.
Malted barley is preferred in Scotland, and peat is often used for the drying process. This gives a smokey flavor to the final product, influenced by the amount of time used. Islay on the west cost of Scotland, home to distillaries like Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin, produces some of the most peaty whiskies.
On the other hand, 'Whiskey' is spelled with an 'e' in Ireland and America. In Irish Gaelic, 'uisce beatha' means water of life. During the 12th century, the Norman invasion of Ireland occured when King Henry II's army conquered the land, and hence 'whiskey' has been used to describe Irish whiskey ever since. Later, the influx of Irish immigrants to the United States brought the term to America.
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In general, Irish whiskey is distilled three times to increase the smoothness, while American and Scottish whiskies are distilled twice. Pot stills are widely used in Ireland. Bushmills is one of the oldest distillaries in Ireland, producing whiskey since 1608.
Now you know the difference—'whisky' is used in Scotland, Japan and Canada and the rest of the world, while 'whiskey' is used in Ireland and the United States. Click here to browse our whisk(e)y section to start building your collection!