Is There Any Difference Between Whisky And Whiskey? [Solved]

Feb 22, 2023 - Views: 138

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What is the difference between whisky and whiskey?

Is it two different spellings of the same word, or two slightly different words indicating two distinct groups of spirits?

If you are confused about this, keep reading to know the answer. We have all covered it in this post!

Let's find out!

Whisky or whiskey difference

Whisky or whiskey difference

What Is The Difference Between Whisky And Whiskey?

In fact, there is actually no difference in meaning they are both referred to as whisky! 

Whisky is a distilled alcoholic beverage derived from fermented barley mash. Several grains are used for different variants, including barley, corn, rye, and wheat.

It is often matured in charred white oak barrels, which are formed of wood. Uncharred white oak barrels formerly used for maturing port, rum, or sherry are also occasionally used.

Worldwide, whisky is a carefully controlled spirit with many different classes and varieties. 

The fermentation of grains, distillation, and aging in wooden barrels are often shared traits throughout the many classes and varieties.

Whisky definition

Whisky definition

Why Are There Two Different Spellings?

The word "whisky" comes from the Irish usquebaugh, which means "water of life". “Uisge” is referred to as water and beatha is "life". 

Throughout time, it has been used to refer to a variety of energizing liquors. 

Nowadays, whiskey comes from Ireland, whereas whisky comes from Scotland and the translation of terms from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic versions is what causes the variance. 

Because of the poor quality of Scotch whisky in the late 1800s, Irish manufacturers sought to distinguish their own brand. 

Likewise, due to the vast number of Irish immigrants who established their stills across the US, whiskey is most likely spelled differently in America even if whisky is the legal one. 

On the other hand, the word “whisky” is spelled in Japanese because the Japanese whisky movement was sparked by two men's research on Scottish whisky.

Whiskey or whisky difference in origin

Whiskey or whisky difference in origin

What Are The Types of Whisky?

The primary categories of Whisky based on origin include Scotch, Canadian, and Japanese, which are further divided into single malt, rye, and blended varieties, among other variations.

  • Scotch whisky

According to UK regulations, a whiskey can only be called Scotch if it was made and bottled in Scotland. 

Scotch whiskies made just from one type of grain or one type of malt are among them. Single malt Scotch is characterized by its smokiness. 

These whiskies must spend at least three years maturing in wood barrels.

Scotch whisky

Scotch whisky

  • Japanese whisky

Japanese whisky production is more comparable to Scotch than it is to Irish since Scottish academics taught the Japanese how to make whiskey in the 1920s. 

This is also the reason that Japanese whisky is spelled without a "e." 

The well-known Japanese whisky brands include Hibiki, Hakushu, Chichibu, and Nikka.

Japanese whisky

Japanese whisky

Although single malt is the favored kind, blended whiskies from Japan also contain Scotch malt. 

Japanese whiskies do not, however, need to be aged for a minimum amount of time legally, unlike all other sorts.

  • Canadian whisky

The creation of Canadian whisky is not subject to any tight regulations, and it is possible for there to be more than 20 components in a single batch. 

As a result, decisions about the distillation procedure and the kind of barrels to be utilized are entirely up to the producer.

Canadian whisky are among the world's smoothest and are renowned for their flavor as well.

Canadian whisky

Canadian whisky

In addition, India whisky featuring products like Imperial Blue Whisky is also quite popular.

What Are The Types of Whiskey?

“Whiskey" refers to whiskey produced in the United States and Ireland. Here are 3 most popular types:

  • American whiskey (Rye Whiskey & Bourbon Whiskey)

Kentucky is where Bourbon, an exclusively American whiskey, was first created. Knob Creek, Wild Turkey, Four Roses, and the storied Old Forester 1920 are some of its well-known brands.

The Bourbon must also be distilled, and the alcohol percentage must be specified before barreling. 

Also, it must be matured in brand-new, charred oak barrels. The flavor of the whiskey is influenced by these procedures.

American whiskey (Rye Whiskey & Bourbon Whiskey)

American whiskey (Rye Whiskey & Bourbon Whiskey)

Another famous American whiskey is Rye Whiskey. This whiskey is made all over the world, however it is more frequently manufactured in North America than single malt.

In essence, it is a kind of cereal grass. Rye whiskey can be made from a rye mash or a combination of rye and malt mashes. Rye whiskey in the US must contain at least 51% rye. 

  • Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey is a kind of whiskey produced in Ireland. Its distinctive quality is that they have a fusion of styles. 

Irish whiskeys are created by blending grain whiskey with triple-distilled, unmalted barley. A minimum three-year maturity period follows this. 

To taste, they are delicate and silky.

Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey

Some well-known brands include Jameson, Redbreast, Green Spot, and Knappogue Castle. Especially, McConnell's Irish Whiskey is considered to be one of the best whisky for cocktails.

  • Tennessee Whiskey

Tennessee whiskey is produced in Tennessee as its name indicates, and it uses a method of manufacture that is quite similar to that of Bourbon. 

But, one significant distinction in the production of Tennessee is that it passes through the Lincoln County Process, a charcoal filtering procedure, right before the clean distilled spirit is put to the barrels. 

Tennessee Whiskey

Tennessee Whiskey

Because of this procedure, it has a definite taste of slightly burned wood.

The Lincoln County Method is used differently by Tennessee's producers, which can also affect the flavor.

You can read our post on 7 types of whiskey for more details of each type.

Do Whisky And Whiskey Taste Different?

There are taste variances between the two categories since the nation of origin determines the exact spelling of the spirit. 

Throughout each location, the beverage has a unique flavor character.

Refer to our infographic so that you can easily pick the one that best matches your preferences.

Whisky and whiskey taste

Whisky and whiskey taste

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why is Maker's Mark whisky not whiskey?

Not all American whiskeys begin with the "e." 

The two biggest brands that don't use the traditional American spelling are Maker's Mark and George Dickel. 

In Maker's instance, this was done in remembrance of the Scots-Irish ancestors of the Samuels family.

2. Is it Scotch whisky or whiskey?

Scotch Whisky is always spelt without the “e”. 

The alcohol must age in oak barrels for at least three years before it can be formally referred to as Scotch whisky. 

Scotland must be the location of both production and maturing.

3. Is Crown Royal a whiskey or bourbon?

In particular, Crown Royal is a Canadian whiskey, and while it technically has a mash bill similar to bourbon (64% maize, 31.5% rye, and 4.5% malted barley), bourbon can only be produced in America.

Although first giving their approval, the TTB then changed their mind and ordered the brand to stop using the term "Bourbon Mash."

Final Thoughts

“Whisky” and “Whiskey”: different nations throughout the world spell the term differently. Each nation of origin is proud of its distinctive past, customs, and distillation methods. We hope that after reading this post, you are aware of the difference between whisky and whiskey and can confidently select the flavor that best suits your preferences.

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