Difference between Whiskey and Whisky

Updated on September 16, 2017

For many years, people have been debating whether it’s “whiskey” or “whisky.” Many people say the only difference is how the words are spelled, but a lot of people also say that “whiskey” and “whisky” are actually two different types of drinks. So, what really is the difference between the two?

Descriptions

whiskey

The word whiskey is an umbrella term that refers to a kind of alcoholic drink made of fermented grains (such as wheat, corn, rye, and barley) that go through distillation. Whiskey goes through aging, a process which involves placing the alcoholic liquid in wooden casks typically made of charred white oak usually done for several years.

Whiskey with an “e” is the preferred spelling in the United States and Ireland. There are several accounts that explain why the Americans and Irish use this spelling. The most famous one says that in the 1800s, the quality of the Scotch whisky produced was not of good quality. Because of this, distillers from America and Ireland added an “e” to distinguish their version of whiskey from the Scottish version.

whisky

The word whisky refers to the same type of alcoholic drink as “whiskey.” However, this spelling is preferred in Scotland, Japan, Canada, England, Australia, India, Finland, and Germany.

Whiskey vs Whisky

What, then, is the difference between whiskey and whisky?

The only difference between the two is that “whiskey” is the spelling used in the United States and Ireland, whereas “whisky” is the spelling preferred in Scotland, Japan, Canada, England, Australia, India, Finland, and Germany.

Comparison Chart

WhiskeyWhisky
The spelling more commonly used in the United States and IrelandThe spelling preferred in Scotland, Japan, Canada, England, Australia, India, Finland, and Germany