Skip to main content

Whisky vs Whiskey: What's the Difference?

It is no secret that every corner of Ireland and Britain holds claim to a storied past of spirits. If you look closely, however, you might notice a small nuance in the spelling of a particular amber-colored, malted drink that has been produced in the region for centuries. 

So is it whisky or whiskey? Does it matter? Should you care? The answer is yes—to all of the above.

There are actually two explanations for where the distinction came from. One explanation suggests the singular ‘e’ is the result of a small translation difference between the Gaelic language that the word whisky comes from - uisce beatha in Irish, uisge-beatha in Scottish. Both mean "water of life"- a translation by monks in the Middle Ages of the Latin aqua vitae.

Another suggestion appears more deliberate. In the 19th century, the Irish wanted to differentiate their product from the Scots, who at the time were making a whisky not up to the Irish standard. So now ‘whiskey’ is reserved for the Irish variety. (If you need help remembering the difference, I thought up a little trick. Make the e stand for Éire (the Irish-language name for Ireland), leaving the e-less whisky as the Scottish variety. )

If you are looking for a sample today, do not discriminate! The two countries both make a quality spirit. Both Scotch and Irish whiskey are typically made in a copper pot still and matured in oak casks for at least three years. The barley that Scotch uses is typically malted, while the barley in Irish whiskey is typically unmalted, and often combined with other grains. Whisky is usually distilled twice, while whiskey is typically tripled distilled, leading to a smoother mouth feel and a lighter flavor.

CIE celebrates the tradition of whiskey making, and there are multiple distilleries that are included as stops during tours in Ireland, like Teeling and Jameson, and in Scotland, like Blair Athol. Here you can take an in-depth, behind the scenes look at the process that transforms the grain mash into something a little more pleasurable. Tour the distillery, learn the history, and drink local. Maybe when you come back when you can tell us which you prefer.

Ireland Tours

Showing 7 of 7 total

2021 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1021
2022 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1022

Best of Britain

Starting from $2595

4.7
10 Days

This fast-paced tour is the perfect introduction to England, Scotland and Wales, showcasing the very best historical and scenic spots, alongside vibrant cities. 

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

2021 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1021
2022 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1022

Taste of Ireland

Starting from $1165

4.7
5/7 Days

This fast-paced, short-and-sweet Ireland tour is the perfect introduction to the Emerald Isle. Taste of Ireland hits all of the "greatest hits" highlights—from Blarney Castle to the Cliffs of…

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

2021 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1021
2022 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1022

Irish Adventure

Starting from $1530

4.8
8/9 Days

Make the most of every moment of your Ireland vacation—you'll discover all the can't-miss Irish scenery and history on this fast-paced tour.

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

2021 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1021
2022 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1022

The Irish Pub Tour

Starting from $1595

4.8
8/9 Days

Irish pubs are the hearts of their communities—a source of camaraderie, stories, and song. Raise a glass (or two!) to rich pub culture and history on this guided tour of Ireland, which offers…

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

2021 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1021
2022 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1022

Irish & Scottish Sampler

Starting from $2195

4.6
8/9 Days

This short-and-sweet combination Ireland and Scotland tour visits all the top highlights, mixing in historic cities with iconic sights.

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

2021 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1021
2022 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1022

Taste of Scotland

Starting from $1185

4.6
5 Days

Explore the very best of Scotland's gorgeous scenery and bustling cities on this short-and-sweet introductory tour. 

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

2021 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1021
2022 TOURS: 10% OFF – USE CODE SAVE1022

Scottish Isles & Glens

Starting from $2995

4.8
12 Days

Head a little off the beaten path on this tour of Scotland's rugged Highlands, coastal byways, and the archaeological treasures on Orkney and the Isle of Skye.

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

How can we help you?

Contact US