whisky vs whiskey

Is it Whiskey or Whisky? The proper way to spell your favourite spirit.

Canadian Whisky, whether enjoyed with ginger, cola, on the rocks, or straight up, is undeniably unique.

Some might attribute its distinct character to the crisp, cool Canadian air, the quality of Canadian wheat, or perhaps the wonderful folks who craft it all together. Regardless, one thing is certain – it's exceptionally delicious.

Over the years since the inception of Wolfhead Distillery, the debate over the spelling of 'Whisky' has been a topic of endless conversation. I'm here to put the matter to rest and clarify it once and for all.


Firstly, it's essential to recognize that the English language is rife with rules, and I can't claim to be an expert in all of them. However, what I do know is that there are different versions of English depending on your geographical location. For instance, take the word "flavour." My computer underlines it in red when I type it because it has a bias towards American English.

When it comes to "whisky" (or is it "whiskey," "whiskies," "whiskey," or "whiskeys"?), many are uncertain which one to use.

To embark on this journey, we need to travel back to the early 1690s when the original creators of this iconic spirit were none other than the Scots, giving birth to Scotch "Whisky." Next came Irish Whiskey, which added an "E" to the spelling.

The debate between WHISKY and WHISKEY continues, with some exceptions, of course, since it's all part of the English language.


Countries that produce Whisky (the original and correct way):

  • Canada
  • Scotland
  • India
  • Japan
  • South Africa
  • (probably everywhere else)

Countries that produce Whiskey (though they have our forgiveness because it's tasty):

  • Ireland
  • United States of America

In short, the spelling of "whisky" depends on where the product is created. Both terms refer to the same product but differ in laws, practices, and, in some cases, grains, depending on their origin.

Now, the exceptions:

  • Maker's Mark, a Kentucky Bourbon brand, refers to its product as "Whisky" as a nod to its Scottish heritage.
  • George Dickel, a Tennessee brand, follows the Scottish tradition of spelling "whisky" without an "e," perhaps to stand out, in my opinion.

In summary, we Canadians spell it as "whisky," perhaps influenced by our strong ties to the UK. "Whisky" is the anglicized form of the Gaelic word "uisge beatha," which means "water of life." Gaelic is native to both Ireland and Scotland, so it's challenging to pinpoint where the "E" came from, but clearly, it held more significance for the Irish than the Scottish. However, if Wolfhead were to explain why there's no "E" in "Whisky," it might be because there's no "E" in the word "Tasty" either.


For more information on the Whisky vs. Whiskey debate, you can explore this informative historical article by Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2018/05/17/is-it-whisky-or-whiskey-and-why-it-matters/?sh=4d779f987561 rewrite.



Written by Kaitlyn Collins

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