I rarely drink alcoholic spirits of any kind, but on occasion am partial to either a Gin and Tonic, or a whiskey.
There seems to be a lot of discussion surrounding which is correct – whiskey or whisky. Well, the answer is simple. Whiskey made in Scotland – Scotch – is spelled whisky. And whiskey made in Ireland (predominantly, but also in Canada, US, and other countries, is spelled whiskey.
I’ve got my Irish theme going at the moment, thanks to my forthcoming release of Honor’s Debt, the first book in the Robinhill Farm Series, which is set in Ireland.
So, throughout this blog post, I will be spelling whiskey with an ‘e’, when it’s appropriate, and without the e when I’m talking about Scotch. So don’t get upset think that is wrong. It’s not. OK?
Either way, Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky are both wonderful drinks and both rightly deserve the name Water of Life. The term whiskey (or whisky) comes from the Gaelic uisge beatha (Scottish) or uisce beatha (Irish). There are many varieties of Gaelic which is the Celtic language predominantly spoken in Ireland and in the Highlands of Scotland.
Whiskey is the most popular of all the grain spirits, first thought to be distilled by monks in Ireland as early as the 12th century. There are two kinds of whisky; malt whisky, used essentially in the creation of blended whiskies, or bottled in small proportions as a Single Malt; and grain whisky, which is combined with malt whisky to create the famous blends.
There are several fundamental differences in Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey. Google them if you want more details, but basically there are differences in the distilling phases (double distilled vs triple distilled); in the type of malted barley used; Scotch uses peat smoke, giving it a different aroma; different ageing times, and different maturing processes which result in different tastes, aromas, and colours.
|At Jameson's distillery, Dublin|
coastlines I’ve ever seen. The Giant’s Causeway, quaint little harbour town, ancient castles teetering on thousand foot high cliffs, banded Galways grazing in fields, and the little town of Bushmills, home to the famous Bushmills Distillery.
Bushmills is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world. They received the royal licence back in 1608, and have been making their triple distilled whiskey from a single malt whiskey ever since, the blend resulting in a lighter grain whiskey. http://www.bushmills.com/
Of course, another famous Irish whiskey that springs to mind is Tullamore Dew, but alas I didn’t get to visit their distillery. http://www.tullamoredew.com/
So, next time your ask for a Scotch, or a whiskey, why not sample some of the Irish whiskies. The varieties of whisky/whiskey from both countries are outstanding, each one different, depending on what you try. There are two kinds of whisky; malt whisky, used essentially in the creation of blended whiskies, or bottled in small proportions as a Single Malt; and grain whisky, which is combined with malt whisky to create the famous blends. Add in the flavours used in the processes, and there’s no end to the variety of tastes and aromas.
The characters in my forthcoming book, Honor’s Debt, (set in Ireland) favour Jameson’s, but I would encourage you to try all the different brands and varieties to see what suits your taste buds.
Honor's Debt - available for pre-order now from:
Out November 13th