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Whisky or Whiskey? Here's the Difference!

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?

Yamazaki 50 Y.O. First Edition Bottled in 2005.


If you look closely at the labels of Japanese whisky such as Nikka, Yamazaki, Hibiki or Karuizawa, you'll see that 'whisky' is spelt without the 'e'. This is no surprise because Japanese whiskies have historical ties with Scotch whiskies. 

Karuizawa 1980 Harbour City 35 Years. Available on Luxglove!

Hibiki 30 Y.O. Ceramic Edition. Available on Luxglove!

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.

Glenfarclas The Pagoda Reserve Trilogy Aged 43, 48 and 59 years. Available on Luxglove!


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'.

Old & Rare Platinum Glenburgie 1980 36 Y.O. Available on Luxglove!

Old & Rare Laphroaig 1996 21 Y.O. Available on Luxglove!

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 LaphroaigArdbeg and Lagavulin, produces some of the most peaty whiskies.

Blair Athol 1995 21 Y.O. Available on Luxglove!

The Sovereign 52 Y.O. Blended Grain. Available on Luxglove!


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.

Bushmills Millennium Malt 1975 25 Y.O. Single Cask Exclusive for 'The Angels' Share'. Available on Luxglove!

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.

High West Rendezvous Rye. Available on Luxglove!

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!

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