Credit: Albert Bridge
Credit: Albert Bridge

How whiskey added a vowel to its name

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

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?

Subscribe to Neat Stuff

Get the latest news from the world of whisk(e)y delivered to you each week on a silver platter. Neat Stuff makes your life easier by distilling what you need to know down to a weekly newsletter. 

Close Menu

Subscribe to Neat Stuff

Get the latest news from the world of whisk(e)y delivered to you each week on a silver platter. Have a look at our past issues. Neat Stuff Subscribers get exclusive content and early access to the latest news in the fast moving world of whisk(e)y.

Know someone who would appreciate this site? Please share it with them.
Our privacy promise: We hate spam as much as you do. We will never send you spam. Your email address is secure with us.