When I decided to start this site I had to ponder a bit to which one I would use when talking about this wonderful spirit. As it comes out, I am not alone in this question and a lot of conversations (and down-right arguments) have been had in pubs and bars across the world on the subject. So of course I had to do my own bit of research so I could make an educated decision on what I would choose.
In terms of the etymology of the word, I feel that The Master of Malt explains it best:
“The term ‘whisky’ derives from the Gaelic usquebaugh – itself from the Scottish Gaelic uisge beatha, or the Irish Gaelic spelling uisce beatha. Uisce comes from the Old Irish for ‘water’ and beatha from bethad, meaning ‘of life’. With this in mind, whisky is etymologically linked with a great number of spirits, all of which refer to the origins of the spirit – the quest for the elixir of life.
Wow – “The Elixir of Life”, I think I can get behind that.
They continue with the fact that many concur: “The spelling of whisky, or whiskey, differs geographically. As a rule, American and Irish prefer ‘whiskey’ and the Scots, Canadians and the rest of the world’s single malt makers prefer ‘whisky’. A few American distillers, Maker’s Mark and George Dickel for example, prefer the Scottish spelling, this is to be attributed to their Scottish ancestry.”
So what will I choose?
Although my journey started way back in the 1990s with Scotch and a lot of my background is entrenched in the single malt “whisky” world, I am an American who is really excited about what my country has been producing in the realm of “Whiskey” both in the traditional distilleries and in the new “Micro Distilleries” popping up all over the place. Putting aside the history of the word, I just personally like how the spelling of “Whiskey” looks.
So there you have it – The Whiskey Tales begins!