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Distilled Thoughts Blog

August 30th, 2022

Whether you drink it with ginger, cola, on the rocks, or straight up there’s no denying that Canadian Whisky is one-of-a-kind. Who knows if it’s the crisp cool air, the Canadian wheat, or just the dang-good people mixing it all together. One thing is for sure it’s pretty delicious. 

Over the years since Wolfhead Distillery opened, I have had endless conversations about our spelling of ‘Whisky’. I am here to settle the debate and set the record neat (aka straight). 

The first thing to note is that there are so many rules when it comes to the English language. Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell you many of those rules but what I do know is there are different versions depending on where you live. For example the word flavour; My computer screams at me with a dirty red line every time I type it because it has USA bias. When it comes to whisky however many are not sure to correct their text to Whiskey, Whiskies, Whiskey, or Whiskeys. 

To start off this journey we need to go back to the early 1690s. The original makers of this iconic libation are none other than the Scottish. This is otherwise known as Scotch “Whisky”. Next came Irish Whiskey where they decided to add an E to the spelling. 

There is an ongoing list of WHISKY & WHISKEY and with some exceptions of course it’s still the English language. 

Countries that produce Whisky (THE OG & CORRECT WAY)

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

Countries that produce Whiskey (Wrong but we will forgive them because it’s tasty)

  • Ireland 
  • United States of America

Long story short the spelling of whisky depends on where the product is created. Yes, both terms refer to the same product however they differ in laws, practices, and some even grains depending on where they come from. 

The exception:

Makers Mark – This Kentucky Brand of Bourbon refers to their product as Whisky. They do this as a nod to their Scottish heritage.

George Dickel- A Tennessee Brand Followed in the Scottish tradition of spelling whisky without an “e” (for no reason other than to stand out..in my opinion).

So let’s recap… Whisky is how we Canadians spell whisky. Maybe this is because of our large influence from the UK. “Whisky” is the anglicized form of the Gaelic word uisge beatha (pronounced “oosh-kie bah”), which means water of life. Gaelic is native to both Ireland and Scotland, so it’s hard to say where the E came from, but clearly, it meant more to the Irish than the Scottish.” 

But if it was the Wolfhead explanation of why no E in Whisky it would be because there is no E in the word “Tasty” either. 

For more information on Whisky, Vs Whiskey check out this awesome historical article by Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2018/05/17/is-it-whisky-or-whiskey-and-why-it-matters/?sh=4d779f987561 

 

Blog By – Kaitlyn Collins

Wolfhead Distillery Digital Marketing & Social Media Manager

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