The significance of the letter “e” when it comes to Whisky/Whiskey.
Whisky VS Whiskey
The difference between the two which is clearly denoted by the addition of the letter E is something which began years and years ago and still continues to date. It’s a simple way of denoting the country of origin of the whisky/whiskey just by the name and spelling.
Whisky – without the E – is usually used to identify Scotch Whiskies
Whiskey – with the E – is usually used by Irish and American whiskey producers. This is why we see the inclusion of the letter E in some of the names of our favorite Irish and Bourbon Whiskeys.
So, now let us delve deep into Irish whiskey vs Scottish Whisky. And, learn why the alphabet E is so important.
Pro-Tip – the plural of whisky is whiskies, but the plural of whiskey is whiskeys
Super Pro-Tip – Do not attempt to read the above line after a few drinks.
The real whisky vs whiskey difference thus is geographical in nature. This probably arose due to the translation of the word for Whisky from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic forms ‘uisge beatha’, or ‘usquebaugh’ which then become short as usque and eventually evolved into Whisky/Whiskey.
Whisky VS Whiskey: Origins of the Story
Back in the day, there were two prominent Whisky Producing regions which were Scotland and Ireland. In the late 1800’s It is also said that the Irish producers wanted to differentiate their product from the Scottish whisky, as they thought the Scottish produce was inferior and of poor quality.
It’s clear that the Scottish and Irish pioneered the Whisky Movement during its initial stages, which then trickled down to other countries and the influence of Scottish or Irish can still be seen today with the spelling.
The American spelling is whiskey most likely due to the large number of Irish immigrants setting up their stills throughout the US
Whiskey vs Whisky: Exception
Fun Fact: Maker’s Mark chooses the Scottish way to spell whisky, even though it’s an all-American bourbon through and through. This can get confusing for some people (especially those loyal to the notion that countries with an “e” spell whiskey with an “e”), but the rationale comes down to one thing: distiller heritage.
Check out this:
Whisky vs Whiskey: Other Regions
The Japanese spelling is whisky as it was two men’s study of Scotch whisky that inspired the Japanese whisky movement.
Whisky produced in India is sans the E in the name as we gained the influence of the British.
That’s probably the most important application of the humble letter “e” ever.
As the spirit has spread across the world, distillers use the whisky vs whiskey debate on a more regional basis, depending on their history and where they draw inspiration from.
These days though, Whiskies/Whiskeys from all parts of the world are able to stand out and have managed to make a mark for themselves. This is also why Whiskey/Whisky is a very popular spirit all over the world, especially here in India.
What Do Scotch Whisky And Irish Whiskey Has In Common
Despite the difference in spelling and method of production, Scotch Whisky and Irish Whiskey do share a few similarities. Scotland has more than 100 distilleries and some of them have similar flavor profiles to the distilleries in Ireland.
Most manufacturers use oak wood, which is sure to have a huge impact on the final flavor of both whiskey and whisky. In fact, oak wood has an impact on about 70 percent of the end flavor of the liquid.
The distilleries in both Ireland and Scotland use oak casks while preparing whiskey and whisky. Besides, some distilleries in both the countries also often use sherry or ex-bourbon casks.
The use of similar casks is sure to give similar flavors to two separate malts. Sherry casks bring fruit and spicy notes to the liquid while Bourbon casks impart a sweeter flavour to it.
HERE are some more interesting facts about Whisky/Whiskey.