Whisky? Whiskey? Yes, Please!

Which is it? Whiskey or Whisky? The short answer is that Scotch is always whisky (plural: whiskies), and Irish is always whiskey (plural: whiskeys). I find it interesting that the plural of Irish whiskey is an odd construction (the suffix -ies seems much more natural than -eys). Indian, Japanese, Canadian and Welsh products are whisky, spelled like Scotch, and Americans produce whiskey (with an ‘e’); the latter being Bourbon, Corn or Rye. In North America, exceptions to the rule are more common, but in the rest of the world, people pretty much spell whisky without an ‘e’ in the word.

The wikipedia has a very nice summary of the usage and history of the presence (or absence) of the ‘e’ in whisky. Turns out that the ‘e’ might have been added to distinguish other whiskeys from Scotch, which at the time (19th century) was a very poor-quality product. A politically incorrect joke is that a Scot decided to save ink (they are reputed to be famously “tight” with money) by reducing the number of letters in the name of the product, thereby saving about 14% on ink (i.e., 6 letters instead of 7). 🙂

To avoid confusion, regardless of which kind of whisk(e)y you are referring to, they are both pronounced the same. And…they both rhyme with Bruichladdich.


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