I know, I know… you thought you’d left spelling lessons behind when you left school! And you’re probably wondering why you should even give a hoot about how to spell the name of your favourite spirit.

Street cred. That’s why.

Oh, to be sure, the spelling’s not the most important thing about drinking whisky. After all, you don’t have to pass a spelling test before they let you buy a wee dram at the pub. But, as with so much in life, it’s the small things that count. They add up. God is in the details. Or is that the Devil? Either way, you’re covered.

Besides, the answer to “How do you spell whisk(e)y?” is really simple: Both ways.

But, there is an important distinction between the two. You see, whisky (plural whiskies) shows that the product was made in either Scotland, Wales, Canada or Japan, whereas whiskey (plural whiskeys) shows that it was made in either Ireland or America.

This is the kind of interesting information that you can casually throw into conversation with your friends at the pub. They’ll think you’re a connoisseur. They’ll be impressed. I promise.

As a bonus, here’s another whisky spelling trivia gem for you: Despite what I told you above, the official spelling in America is actually whisky. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms decreed it so in 1968. Some distilleries obeyed. Others clung to tradition. And in the whisky world, tradition is important. Much more important than the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Which is why they had to give in and allow American distilleries to choose which spelling they wanted to use, and why you’ll see examples of both spellings on American labels.

Want some more funky fundamentals? Click here to return from Spelling Lessons: Whisky Or Whiskey? to the Whisky Basics page