Question 6: WHISKY/WHISKEY What are the differences between "whiskey" and "whisky"?

"Whiskey" refers to the alcoholic products produced in Ireland or the USA. A grist of kiln-dried sprouted barley and, usually, unmalted barley is dried in closed ovens. In the USA, Corn Whiskey is called moonshine. Grain whiskey uses wheat or maize with a small amount of malted barley to aid fermentation. Potatoes have been fermented in Ireland for producing blended products and for controlling alcohol content.

The spelling, "Whisky", is found on Scottish and Canadian products. Scotch "Whisky", which starts with malted barley dried over peat fires, has a very distinctive flavour that defies imitation elsewhere. The maturation relies upon cool, maritime, Northern climates to produce the best quality aged, single malt Scotch Whisky. Lowland whisky is lighter and fruitier with little or no peating, and it is often used for blending. The Glenmorangie distillery near Tain in Easter Ross pioneered the idea of re-racking from bourbon to cherry-wood casks for the final years of maturation with great success. [This process is now much imitated.]

In all cases, the wood of the casks has an influence in the final taste. All maturation occurs there. Once bottled, the aging process ceases. Storage of fine Scotch Whisky is best done in a cool place.

O-O-Ooops! There was bound to be at least one exception. The town of Dalwinnie (also the Scottish spelling on the map) lies halfway between Perth and Inverness on the A9 through Speyside. I think that the distillery could be spelling the words "Dalwhinney" and "whiskey" on their labels for the Irish, English and American markets. No doubt those spellings have found their way into travel brochures as well.

The Dalwhinnie Distillery was sold to Cook and Bermheimer, the largest distilling company in America, back in 1905, but the Prohibition Act of 1922 prevented any growth of the industry. The distillery now belongs to Distillers Company Limited, which licensed it to James Buchanan & Company. Due to this mottley history, I'd say that you are free to use any spelling of your choice, but it depends mainly upon the location of the market, I'd say. If the market is the USA, then "Dalwhinney Whiskey" is the best tasting peat-flavoured single-malt Whisky (spelled Whiskey) that I have tasted in the USA. The location of the distillery and the product are of equally good taste.

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