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Wed, 11 Feb 2009

Whisky vs Whiskey: a style guide:

The booze columnist for the New York Times recently made a frightful error. But to give credit where credit is due, he then Did The Right Thing and got his editors to correct their style guide. However, while the new style guide is better than the previous one, it's still wrong. The rules for when to spell it whisky or whiskey are as follows:

  • Malt never has an 'e', unless made in Ireland or the US, in which case it always does;
  • Everything else always has an 'e', unless it's Canadian or a Scottish blend, in which case it never does.

"Citation needed!" I hear you cry!

Very well! A citation you shall have! Stroll leisurely over to your drinks cabinet, and from it extract bottles of Amrut (a single malt from India) and Yamazaki (a single malt from Japan). Notice how they spell 'whisky' - without an e. Then visit one of your friends who lacks taste, and examine his bottle of Famous Grouse. That too has no e. Now, look at your bottles of Jameson's, Knob Creek and Blanton's. They all spell it 'whiskey'. Finally, look at the website for that rare bird, the American single malt, and also at one for a Canadian single malt. Notice that the American distillery uses an e, where the Canadian one doesn't.

Thankyou for your attention.

Posted at 20:43 by David Cantrell
keywords: drinking | language | whisky
Permalink | 3 Comments

What about Breton Buckwheat "whisky"? Eddu whisky seems to be spelt without an "e" for both single malts and blends.

Posted by Adam on Mon, 16 Feb 2009 at 20:38:29


That'd be because the French can't spell :-)

Posted by David Cantrell on Tue, 17 Feb 2009 at 13:53:50


I think you may find that plenty of people in Brittany may be offended to be called French!

They are after all, more biologically and culturally related to the British (Welsh and Cornish in particular) than they are to French...

Posted by Adam on Tue, 17 Feb 2009 at 20:27:04


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