Well ain’t that the question we all want to know? This rather easy question, so it looks like, is the ingredient for many arguments. First where does the name Whisk(e)y comes from?
The name of the drink derives from the ancient Celtic word usquebaugh. In Scottish Celtic they speak about uisge beatha and in Irish Celtic they speak about uisce beatha. This means something like “water of life,” the word uisce means “water” and beatha comes from the word bethad, meaning “from life”.
But what’s the difference between whiskey and whisky?
The answer is quite simple: the difference between whiskey and whiskey depends on the country of origin. Whisky is being used for Scottish and Canadian whisky and the Irish and American use Whiskey. The reason for this is because in the 19th century the Scottish whisky was of very poor quality. The Irish wanted to distinguish their whiskey for the export to the US so they added the letter ‘e’. And until today this is still being used. Of course there are distilleries using the Scottish spelling because of their Scottish roots.
Nice name but what about the taste?
There is a difference in flavour between Scottish whisky and Irish whiskey. For example, the Irish whiskey has no such smoke flavor as the Scottish, this is because the malt is not kilned with peat, and because the whiskey is distilled three times. Kilning is the drying of the malt at a high temperature. For this purpose peat, dried peat, can be used as fuel.
So in short, when someone starts the discussion: the countries with an ‘e’ Ireland and America write whiskey and the ones without, Scotland and Canada, write whisky. And for those who just want to chill their whisk(e)y without deluting it, here’s the solution.