Whiskey is whiskey—except in Scotland, Japan and a few other places, where it’s whisky. How did we end up with two slightly different spellings for the same drink? As Josef Micallef explains, the story is more complicated than it might look.
Ireland vs. Scotland
The short version: back in the late 1800s, when Ireland sold more of the brown spirit than anyone, its major distillers began using “whiskey” to differentiate their product from Scottish whisky. The Irish spelling took hold in the U.S., too, because Americans preferred whiskey and thought it superior to Scotch. How’d that all work out for ya, Ireland?