Read on to learn the differences in spelling, production, distillation and malting, and see what they have in common - apart from being f*****g awesome.
What is the difference between Whisky and Whiskey?
How did two countries so close to one another come to have such distinct, different types of Whisky in the first place? Here are 2 crash courses on the History of Water of life.
How are Scotch Whisky and Irish Whiskey produced?
Scotch is typically made from malted barley, and other grains, in a copper pot still and matured for a minimum of three years.
Irish Whiskey is typically made from unmalted barley, and other grains, in a copper pot still and matured for a minimum of three years.
Distillation and Malting of Scotch Whisky and Irish Whiskey
Irish on the other hand, is mostly triple distilled, which makes it renowned for its smoothness. It is also more likely to be made up of a combination of grains, not just barley.
It also has an extra category of malt, Single Pot Still, which means it is made from both malted and unmalted barley. This grew out of a tradition of using unmalted barley, as malted barley was taxed.
Some of the brands you must know from this category are Method & Madness - such a great example of the style, Green Spot of course is an absolute classic and Redbreast is probably the iconic Single Pot Still character.
While both countries use copper pot stills, Scotland has more variety in their stills, whereas in Ireland the pot still, which is typically smaller than their Scottish cousins, are more common.
What do Scotch Whisky and Irish Whiskey have in common?
The use of oak wood is always going to have a big effect on the flavor of the liquid, roughly 70% of the end flavor in fact, and both Ireland and Scotland must use oak casks.
If you’re looking to try Whiskies that might have you questioning if they are Scotch Whisky or Irish Whiskey, then you should try Auchentoshan Scotch which is similar to the Irish Whiskey character as it is triple distilled and often very soft and smooth with a vanilla character too.
Some of the Teeling single casks are similar to Scotch due to their depth of flavor, their experimental maturation and finishing processes. They often have a less-smooth flavor profile than you’d expect from Irish Whiskey. Dingle Irish Whiskey is proving to be quite a great Whiskey as it has lots of character, not unlike some of the fruitier Scotches.