Whisk(e)y, The Water Of Life

It’s well known that there are two ways of spelling whisk(e)y, ‘Whisky’ and ‘Whiskey’ and it is a long running discussion dating back, over many years of history as to the whys and way fore of why whisk(e)y is spelt ‘Whisky’ and ‘Whiskey’.

The word ‘Whisky’ originated from the Gaelic word ‘Uisgebaugh’, pronounced ‘WEEZ-ga-bochh’ meaning ‘Water Of Life’. Over time ‘WEEZ-ga-bochh’ was shortened to ‘WEEZ-ga’ a word which was then Anglicized to become ‘Whisky’.

When the term whisky is used with reference to Scotland’s distillations you will never find an ‘e’ used by a Scot to describe their national drink.

Whiskey with the ‘e’ is used to describe Irish whiskey distillations. Some of the brands in the past have used the spelling without the ‘e’, however the ‘e’ spelling is now the standard way for spelling whiskey when referring to Irish whiskey.

The number one reason given for the use of the ‘e’ was that the Irish Industry wanted to stand out from the Scottish whisky industry, and heres why;

During the 19th century much of the Scotch whisky was being distilled in Coffey stills and either as a result or as mixture of still and poor distilling methods the quality of the Scotch whisky being produced was well below par.

At the time Irish whiskey was regarded as much better quality and the Irish distillers wanted to differentiate their superior product from that of the Scots, thus they started to use the ‘e’ spelling.

However that been said it could simply be down to the way of spelling or dialect, as both styles have been used in Ireland.

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