You say “Whisky” and I say “Whiskey”…but why is that?

There has always been dispute between Scottish and Irish whisky makers and enthusiasts as to who created the drink and which country produces the best. The term “whisky” itself originates from the Gaelic (an ancient Celtic language) word Usquebaugh, which translates as “Water of Life”. Both Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic use this word, but vary in its spelling.

So is that why the Irish spell it Whiskey?

Well to answer that we need to travel back in time to 1870. During this time Scottish whisky wasn’t of as high quality and excellence as you know today. In fact Scottish whisky was so bad that the Irish whisky distilleries wanted a way for people to differentiate between their whisky and the poor quality Scottish whisky of the time.

A lot of Irish exportation was to America, so to avoid confusion with Scottish whisky the Irish started adding an “e” so that their bottles read “Irish Whiskey”. The American people quickly adopted the term “whiskey” and have continued to use it ever since.

Today Scottish whisky is widely regarded as the finest whisky in the world. Over the years Scotland has perfected the art of whisky distilling and is famed worldwide for its national drink. The difference in spelling still exists but is purely geographical. The Irish and the Americans still use the term Whiskey, whilst Scotland upholds the term Whisky. To this day the difference in spelling is the cause of much argument among the whisky community, with loyal enthusiasts of Scotch whisky taking great offence to anyone who refers to it as whiskey.