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What’s The Difference Between Whisky and Whiskey?

What’s the difference between whisky and whiskey?

Whisky is one of the most popular spirits in the world and is produced in countries across the world from Scotland to Taiwan. But what’s the difference between whiskey and whisky? And why is this distinction so important? Each country typically has its own method of creating whisky, dependent on what goes into it, how long it’s aged for and what it’s distilled in.

For example, Scottish whisky is only recognized as ‘new’ spirit after it’s been aged for seven years, whereas American whiskey can be bottled after just one year of aging. This is mostly to do with the higher levels of humidity in America meaning more of an angel’s share is lost in the aging process - the angel’s share being the amount of spirit evaporated over time. Additionally, Scottish and Irish whiskies are made with 100% malted or unmalted barley while American whiskey is typically 51% malted barley combined with other grains like oats.


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So which countries make whiskey and which make whisky? A general rule for whisky-producing countries is that those with an ‘e’ in their name make whiskey and those without make whisky. However, the difference between American and Irish whiskey shouldn’t be underestimated. Each country has its own style of distillation that makes their spirit unique and desirable to whisky enthusiasts.

While many countries produce fantastic whiskies, no country’s whisky has prominence on a global level like Scotch. Scotch makes up 4% of global spirit sales by weight and three times as much by value. Additionally, since the financial crash, Scotch has never returned less than 60% when sold after six years. This makes it one of the fastest growing investment products in the world, its returns outperforming wine, gold and even London property.

For more about the differences between American, Irish and Scottish whisk(e)y, as well as some top tips on getting a piece of the investment action in 2019, check out the info-graphic below.

This info-graphic is provided by The Spirits Embassy, rare and unique whisky and spirits marketplace in the UK.


whisky infographic


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Damon Culbert

Professional Content Writer



Topics: whiskey content