Whiskey vs. Whisky – How to Use Each Correctly

enhancedwriting/ August 30, 2017/ Uncategorized

whiskey versus whisky

What’s the Difference Between Whiskey and Whisky?

Whiskey and whisky look like alternate spellings of the same word, and that’s almost true. However, there is one important distinction between each spelling.

Whiskey is a noun that refers to a specific type of liquor made in Ireland or America.

  • This bar serves only the finest Irish whiskey.

Whisky is almost the same as whiskey, but it is made in Scotland.

  • There are many distilleries that make whisky in Scotland.

Let’s look at some further details about these two words in order to help you avoid making any errors.

Using Whiskey in a Sentence

When to use whiskey: Whiskey is a noun that refers to a specific kind of spirit originating in either Ireland or America.

For example,

  • For those who dislike vodka, whiskey is a good alternative. It comes from fermented grains, and is around 40% alcohol.
  • Irish whiskey is often distilled three times, which gives it a smoother taste.
  • American whiskey is distinct from both Irish and Scottish whiskeys due to the fact that early in American history, whiskey makers used whatever grains were available.
  • The first American distilleries to make whiskey came from Bourbon County in Kentucky and appeared in the 1700’s.

The NATO phonetic alphabet uses whiskey as the code word assigned to represent the letter w.

Using Whisky in a Sentence

When to use whisky: Whisky is very similar to whiskey in that it is a similar tasting spirit. The only difference is that whisky originates from Scotland specifically.

For example,

  • Scotland uses different types of peat to dry their malted barley, which influences the flavor of the whisky.
  • Scottish whisky typically is distilled only twice.
  • There are more distilleries for whisky in Scotland than there are distilleries for whiskey in Ireland.
  • The Irish mix more grains in their whiskey than the Scottish do in their whisky.

Americans likely use the same spelling as the Irish for whiskey due to the large number of immigrants that came to America from Ireland.

Remembering Whiskey vs. Whisky

You can use the spelling of each word to help you remember which is which.

Whiskey has an e, just like the names of the countries Ireland and America.

Whisky has no e, just like the word Scotland.

Outside Examples

  • “I’m going to start you guys off with some Scotches,” said Logan Rushing, the Head Bartender and Whiskey Curator for the Stanley Hotel, as he lined up two perfect rows of glasses and, between them, a bottle of 15-year Highland Park Scotch whiskey. –Denver Post
  • Hosting an international medical conference is strenuous work for the host university, so no one blamed the junior faculty for letting loose with a few choice bottles of wine and single-malt whiskey. –OC Register
  • Jack Daniel’s whisky maker Brown-Forman climbed 47 cents, or 1 percent, to $47.28. –Chicago Sun Times
  • At Kinfolk 90, a bar in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, patrons can enjoy everything from an Italian riff on the Manhattan cocktail to a super-hoppy India pale ale. But many customers are opting for a whisky and soda. –Wall Street Journal

Quiz: Whisky vs. Whiskey

Instructions: Fill in the blanks with the correct word, whisky or whiskey, in the correct form.

  • This single malt __________ comes directly from Scotland and features a youthful and sweet taste.
  • This subtle _____________ is imported from Ireland and is popular amongst college students.
  • Jim Beam is an American __________, specifically from Kentucky.
  • Dublin offers a wide selection of ______________ for anyone looking to sample a wide variety of tastes and mouthfeels.
  • ______________ from Scotland uses a wider variety of still shapes and sizes than those in Ireland.

See answers below.

Article Summary

Should I use whisky or whiskey? These words are so similar that it may not seem very important to remember the distinction between them. However, for whiskey (or whisky) lovers, it is an important difference.

If you use the wrong spelling, especially in a place that prides itself on its particular kind of whiskey (or whisky) you may offend someone.

  • Whiskey is the form of this spirit that comes from Ireland or America.
  • Whisky is the form of this spirit that comes from Scotland.

If you’re unsure of where the liquor comes from, just go with however the name is spelled on the bottle. Lacking that, use the spelling that contains an e when in America or Ireland, and the spelling without an e in Scotland.


  • whisky
  • whiskey
  • whiskey
  • whiskey (or whiskeys)
  • Whisky