Whisky vs. Whiskey – When to Use Which Spelling

Whisky vs. Whiskey - When to Use Which Spelling
Photo by Moussa Idrissi

When talking about whiskey (or whisky), one’s referring to the worldwide known amber-colored distilled grain spirits. So far, so good. And regarding the pronunciation, there are no differences between whiskey and whisky. But when it comes to spelling, there is a slight difference between these two words.

After reading this article, the difference hopefully will be crystal clear, and you can brag about your new knowledge at all parties you attend. So, when to use which ends?

The Origin Determines How to Spell

Once you know the secret, you will never misspell whisky/whiskey again because the rule is actually easy to understand.

The difference between whisky and whiskey is the origin. Whiskey is the correct spelling if the grain spirits you are referring to are distilled in Ireland or the United States. If the same golden liquid is distilled in Scotland, Canada, or Japan, the correct spelling is whisky without the letter e.

Another thing to remember is that the difference between those two spellings also is used in the plural form. The plural form of whiskey is whiskeys, while the plural form of whisky is whiskies.

  • One whiskey – two whiskeys
  • One whisky – two whiskies

Are There Any Differences Apart From the Spelling?

One might believe that there are other differences between whiskey and whisky, apart from the spelling. For example, many believe that whiskey is made in one particular way, and whiskey is made in another specific way.

That is not correct, though. Whiskey and whisky can both be distilled two and three times. Different brands can also have unique ways of making the whiskey/whisky, adding their original touch to this popular alcoholic beverage.

Some countries have specific rules about how to make this kind of liquor, but those rules have nothing to do with the spelling of the words. So, when talking about whisky and whiskey, the only definite difference between the liquor in the bottles is the country of origin. Any other differences are just brand specific.