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cowdery
10-09-2007, 19:31
Whiskey is one of those English words—like aging, center, color, maneuver, and many others—that Americans and Brits spell differently. American writers often struggle to use the British spelling when referring to scotch whiskey (i.e., ‘whisky,’ no ‘e’). UK writers occasionally return the favor. An American would never think of spelling color with a 'u' just because the subject is colors used by an English painter, for example. Why should whiskey be any different?

I'm trying to start a trend in which American publications spell whiskey the American way, regardless of the type of whiskey being discussed. I would expect publications in Canada or the UK to do the same, favoring their spelling.

The sole exception would be that when stating the proper name of a specific product, the word will be spelled the way the producer spells it, and also be capitalized as befits a proper name.

Example: That sure was some good scotch whiskey.

Example: Pass me another drink of that Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky.

SBOmarc
10-09-2007, 20:11
I appreciate this Chuck, I think I have been using this and trying to know what is appropriate and when.

Your suggestion is easy to remember and clear as a bell. How much carry it can get may as well start right here at SB.com.

barturtle
10-09-2007, 23:03
Chuck, I'm not sure I completely agree with this:
Using the correct spelling for the region shows respect for the history of the product, also which American spelling should we use? The way Jack spells it or George? Bakers or Makers?

ratcheer
10-10-2007, 14:48
I am with barturtle on this one. I have tried to learn to always use, e.g., "bourbon whiskey", "Tennessee sour mash whisky", and "scotch whisky". That is to say, spell them the way they are used in their respective regions. I don't have any huge objection to the way Chuck suggests, I have just tried to cultivate a habit of doing it the other way.

Tim

cowdery
10-10-2007, 15:48
I hear the votes for tradition for tradition's sake, a position to which I am not unsympathetic.

The problem is that the maintenance of the dual spelling protocol suggests that "whiskey" and "whisky" are two different words with different meanings when they are not. There is no definition difference between them. They are merely alternative spellings, with one preferred in the United States and the other preferred in Great Britian, along with a long list of other words about which nobody has this problem.

However, the maintenance of this pained protocul, which leads us to write things like "whisk(e)y" to feel like we're covering the category with a single word, also leads many people to conclude that, in fact, they are two different words with two different meanings, and they imagine all sorts of nutty distinctions.

The fact that Maker's Mark, Jack Daniel's and other U.S. producers use "whisky" supports my contention that the two words have the same meaning and are interchangable.

I can illustrate with one of the examples Tim gave, "Tennessee sour mash whisky." This leads many to assume that Jack Daniel's is "sour mash whisky" and other products are not, when in fact every whiskey made in the United States today is "sour mash whisky."

We've all cultivated the habit of doing it the other way. If you lost a leg and had to learn how to walk without it, would you resist getting a fully-functioning prosthetic leg just because you had worked so hard to cultivate the habit of getting by without it?

sku
10-10-2007, 16:06
I completely agree with you Chuck. On my little blog, I made a decision early on that I would use the American spelling for whiskey regardless of region, except as you noted, for proper names. I used the same rationale that it's inconsistent with the way we deal with other nonstandard spellings between American English and UK English.

Strangely, I noticed that the BATF regs use the English spelling of whiskey. Any idea why this is?

cowdery
10-10-2007, 18:06
Glad to have you on board.

You are correct that the U.S. Standards of Identity use the British spelling. I don't know why, except that laws are almost always copied from earlier versions.

Although we haven't heard the argument yet in this thread, there isn't even consensus that what we are dealing with are alternative spellings of the same word. Some people believe they are different words.

gothbat
10-11-2007, 04:34
I've been doing this myself for a while. My reasoning is a bit more simple, the word "whisky" just doesn't look right to me (in fact, firefox even highlights this word as a spelling error when I type it :)). When it's part of a proper name I'll try and spell it that way otherwise I'll use "whiskey". I think the only time I've ever used the term whisky was when referring to Whiskyfest.

boone
10-11-2007, 10:19
I agree with you 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

American, as in this American Spirit!...Do it right, our way...

Another one, that I have issues with...

Cask...Good grief...Cask strength?...Is that a Warehouse full of barrels or is a "Caskhouse full of Casks?...

Another?...

Dram...Good Grief, it's a "shot", jigger, pour...

Oh, I poured me a dram...another skirt one there...

Shootin' it straight :grin: :grin: is there any other way? :slappin: :slappin:


Whiskey is one of those English words—like aging, center, color, maneuver, and many others—that Americans and Brits spell differently. American writers often struggle to use the British spelling when referring to scotch whiskey (i.e., ‘whisky,’ no ‘e’). UK writers occasionally return the favor. An American would never think of spelling color with a 'u' just because the subject is colors used by an English painter, for example. Why should whiskey be any different?

I'm trying to start a trend in which American publications spell whiskey the American way, regardless of the type of whiskey being discussed. I would expect publications in Canada or the UK to do the same, favoring their spelling.

The sole exception would be that when stating the proper name of a specific product, the word will be spelled the way the producer spells it, and also be capitalized as befits a proper name.

Example: That sure was some good scotch whiskey.

Example: Pass me another drink of that Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky.

ratcheer
10-11-2007, 14:38
Although we haven't heard the argument yet in this thread, there isn't even consensus that what we are dealing with are alternative spellings of the same word. Some people believe they are different words.

Well, I will state categorically that I view them as different spellings of the same word. I always have.

Tim

ILLfarmboy
10-11-2007, 15:04
I agree with you 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

American, as in this American Spirit!...Do it right, our way...



I like the way you think! Now, I'm just going to have to remember to quit using the word "dram".

I have often wondered why "dram" came to mean "a drink" One sixteenth of an ounce really ain't enough to wet your whistle.

sku
10-11-2007, 16:03
Dram...Good Grief, it's a "shot", jigger, pour...

Oh, I poured me a dram...another skirt one there...



So, I take it you prefer tipple? :lol:

barturtle
10-11-2007, 16:15
The sole exception would be that when stating the proper name of a specific product, the word will be spelled the way the producer spells it, and also be capitalized as befits a proper name.

Example: That sure was some good scotch whiskey.

Example: Pass me another drink of that Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky.

The problem I see with this is, say you are writting an article about scotch and you mention brands, you might constantly be alternating between the two spellings, or if there are pictures of bottles your spelling will not match the spelling on the labels...not an unsolvable issue, but one that would require more careful attention when editing/spell checking.

I find that using the "whisk(e)y" notation as a handy way to denote the inclusion of whiskey as a worldwide phenomenon...I will also use it sometimes when referring to the Tennessee products as a way to not give priority to either maker.

cowdery
10-11-2007, 17:21
The problem I see with this is, say you are writting an article about scotch and you mention brands, you might constantly be alternating between the two spellings, or if there are pictures of bottles your spelling will not match the spelling on the labels...not an unsolvable issue, but one that would require more careful attention when editing/spell checking.

I find that using the "whisk(e)y" notation as a handy way to denote the inclusion of whiskey as a worldwide phenomenon...I will also use it sometimes when referring to the Tennessee products as a way to not give priority to either maker.

But have you or would you ever think to write "colo(u)r," "odo(u)r" or "man(o)euv(r)e(r)"?

barturtle
10-11-2007, 17:34
But have you or would you ever think to write "colo(u)r," "odo(u)r" or "man(o)euv(r)e(r)"?

I guess I kind of think of it as a non-plural inclusive pluralism:slappin:

gr8erdane
10-12-2007, 18:43
Somehow I prefer these terms to a snort which assumes you aren't even taking the time to taste the whiskee (my new spelling just to confuse the issue) before it tumbles through the gullet to the tummy.

craigthom
10-12-2007, 20:07
I agree that "whiskey" and "whisky" are the same thing: distilled grains aged in wood.

What is the argument presented by those who say they are different things?

Further, I consider the Dickel and Maker's Mark use of the latter to be an affectation. Dickel calls themselves a "Tennessee Whiskey" even though they spell it without the "e" on the label.

ILLfarmboy
10-12-2007, 23:54
I know this is getting off subject and for that I apologize. But I'm curious, when American authors are published in the UK and vice versa is it common practice to change the spelling?

Gillman
10-13-2007, 05:18
The late Michael Jackson's Whiskey was published under that title in North America, and under "Whisky" in the U.K. Throughout in the North American version, "whiskey" is used, even in the discussions on whisky in Canada or Scotland. However this practice is not universal, even Jackson's 1980's World Guide To Whisky used the spelling appropriate to the practice in each country it was addressing.

Personally I think this is purely a matter of individual preference, but that preference normally will want to take into account local practice to ensure better comprehension and staying "on the same page". Every field has its own terminology for this reason. Thus, speaking on this board I try to use the terms "whiskey" when referring to U.S. practice since it is the practice there to do so. When referring to Scots whisky I'll use the term "whisky". But sometimes I won't, simply because I am writing fast or dealing with both topics in one message and it seems over-technical to make this distinction.

Even Americans sometimes use alternate spellings as Chuck pointed out, and the term whisky is used by Maker's Mark, Dickel and Old Forester, so clearly there is a sub-tradition of using the older spelling in the U.S.

As for dram and drap and so forth, I like to use the terms generally applicable in the area but sometimes it is fun to use a different term, it makes the text more colorful, in poetic arts that is called poetic license. It is for this reason that a Southern U.S. politician in a famous speech on whiskey in the early 1950's called it the "philosopher's wine".

And odd things do pop up, e.g., I have regularly heard the term "drappin" in the U.S. South to describe imbibing with (shall we say) enthusiasm and at least one member from Georgia on the other board uses the term from time to time, so a Scots-sounding term has a regional American usage, in this case. A drap clearly is a derivation of "drop", and the very spelling and pronunciation of "drap" attests to the old influence of Scots-Irish speech patterns on American folk speech and practices.

The old term "tot" (and its alternate form toddy, as in hot toddy) for a shot of booze was widespread at one time in Canada and parts of the U.S. including the South although today it has a vaguely British sound. Think of the name of the premier liquor store in Bardstown, Toddy's...

Gary

barturtle
10-13-2007, 07:06
I guess I kind of think of it as a non-plural inclusive pluralism:slappin:

I've been trying to figure out a good way to demonstrate this and think I finally have it:

Take the sentence:

I prefer to drink my whisky out of Riedel Single Malt glasses.

Because of the name of the glass and its association with the Scots tradition, many people would assume you are only speaking of Scotch.

If you change it to:

I prefer to drink my whiskies out of Riedel Single Malt glasses.

It still might be assumed that you refer to only Scotch.

Even if you change it to:

I prefer to drink all my whiskies out of Riedel Single Malt glasses.

Many might think that some people use different glassware for different regions of Scotland.

Changing it to:

I prefer to drink my whiskey out of Riedel Single Malt glasses.

I would think that many would miss the change in spelling and still assume Scotch, simply because of the glasses associations with Scotch.

However:

I prefer to drink my whisk(e)y out of Riedel Single Malt glasses.

Suddenly the wording become very noteworthy and hard to miss the fact that multiple distilling traditions are being referred to. Even if the reader only assumes Scotch and Irish (both being available as single malts), at least they're starting to understand. Changing the glass in each to Riedel Bourbon glass doesn't make much difference, just changes the assumption, using the Glencairn glass swings back to Scotch.

I think the use of "whisk(e)y" saves you from having to do this:

I prefer to drink all my whiskies (Scotch, Irish, Bourbon, Rye, Corn, Japanese, Turkish, Dutch, etc.) out of Riedel Single Malt glasses.

boone
10-13-2007, 08:08
American...

When folks landed here (Ellis Island) their names were written down in large leger books. Sometimes they allowed the newcomer to write their name but many times the person keeping tallies had to figure out what the individual was saying and try to write the name as he or she heard it.

I know this thru reading back from long ago in my family history. The BEAM name has been written many ways. This (BEAM) is the American version. The original spelling from the land of what we now call Germany was BOEHM.

Whiskey it is. :grin:

barturtle
10-13-2007, 08:49
American...

When folks landed here (Paris Island) their names were written down in large leger books. Sometimes they allowed the newcomer to write their name but many times the person keeping tallies had to figure out what the individual was saying and try to write the name as he or she heard it.

I know this thru reading back from long ago in my family history. The BEAM name has been written many ways. This (BEAM) is the American version. The original spelling from the land of what we now call Germany was BOEHM.

Whiskey it is. :grin:

Ah, but in the land of the free you are welcome to spell you name however you like. Just because their name might be spelled Boehm doesn't mean you are no longer related to them, nor would they, now, be forced to adopt the Beam spelling if they moved here and became a citizen.

boone
10-13-2007, 08:51
Ah, but in the land of the free you are welcome to spell you name however you like. Just because their name might be spelled Boehm doesn't mean you are no longer related to them, nor would they, now, be forced to adopt the Beam spelling if they moved here and became a citizen.

Beam it is :slappin:

ratcheer
10-13-2007, 15:14
Gary, I have lived in the Deep South (mostly Georgia and Alabama, but I have been around South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana a good bit) and I have never heard the term "drap". I also have a pretty keen ear out for terms, phrases, and usages. I do recall people using "tot" for a small pour of anything, not just liquor. And I definitely recall my grandmother (b. 1891) saying "toddy", many times. Usually "hot toddy".

Tim

Gillman
10-14-2007, 05:35
Tim, thanks, interesting what you said about "tot" and "toddy" and also meaning any kind of beverage (not just spirits). I am now wondering if "shot" and "tot" in their sense of a small amount of hard liquor are related etymologically. I've heard the term drapping used (sort of humorously) in a gathering of bourbon fans in Louisville once and I thought I heard it at various KBF events over the years. As a noun ("drap"), it has been used on the other board by a gent from Conyers, Georgia. He writes in a humorous vein and might be using an older dialectical term to assist the humorous intent but I seem to recall an earlier discussion where a number of people said the term was known to them or their families. To me it has a Scots-Irish ring but I could be wrong. Its use might be quite regional or even local, of course. By the way I have never heard the term dram in South or any related form (e.g., dramming).

Gary

cowdery
10-15-2007, 16:20
I know this is getting off subject and for that I apologize. But I'm curious, when American authors are published in the UK and vice versa is it common practice to change the spelling?

Absolutely. Every piece I write for WHISKY Magazine is so edited (and I'm talking about words other than whiskey) and Lew Bryson, Managing Editor of Malt Advocate, mentioned to me over the weekend that he does the same for everything they publish by Stephen Beaumont.

cowdery
10-15-2007, 16:26
I agree that "whiskey" and "whisky" are the same thing: distilled grains aged in wood.

What is the argument presented by those who say they are different things?

Further, I consider the Dickel and Maker's Mark use of the latter to be an affectation. Dickel calls themselves a "Tennessee Whiskey" even though they spell it without the "e" on the label.

I guess not so much arguments as just crazy beliefs. Here's just one example. I read someone who stated that Jack Daniel's was required to use the "whisky" spelling because the "whiskey" spelling was only allowed for bourbon.

cowdery
10-16-2007, 11:15
In the post above, I meant to say George Dickel. Jack Daniel's spells it the right way.

The other American brands that use "whisky" are Early Times and Maker's Mark.

Gillman
10-16-2007, 11:22
And Old Forester.

Gary

mier
10-23-2007, 06:10
Why not go back to the origin and call it UISCE?:grin: .
Eric.

sku
11-06-2007, 19:59
Here's my take on the debate Chuck started. I'd love to hear anyone else's comments:


http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2007/11/whisky-wednesday-to-e-or-not-to-e.html

Rughi
11-07-2007, 07:08
Here's my take on the debate Chuck started. I'd love to hear anyone else's comments:

Kevin Erskine is right on all counts.

But when in doubt or speaking generically, I'll use the "e", 'cause I'm a 'Merican (not a Mercian).

Roger

Edward_call_me_Ed
11-07-2007, 17:10
I have always tried to use the spelling appropriate to the region. However, I find that I am swayed by Chuck's arguments. That, and memories of single malt drinkers who have adamantly claimed that bourbon is not whiskey because it isn't scotch. Not that I have run into this very often, but I have on more that one occasion.

Ed

polyamnesia
11-07-2007, 18:14
interesting...in that whiskey is a true native american spirit.

and whiskey was pretty much born in ireland. which quite predates america....

whiskey goes east towards scotland, crosses the water and the 'e' falls into the sea......and becomes (scotch) whisk y!

[of course, the whiskey traveling east to west (to america), the 'e' stayed on board!]

hmmmm.....

ILLfarmboy
11-07-2007, 22:19
I have always tried to use the spelling appropriate to the region. However, I find that I am swayed by Chuck's arguments. That, and memories of single malt drinkers who have adamantly claimed that bourbon is not whiskey because it isn't scotch. Not that I have run into this very often, but I have on more that one occasion.

Ed


I would be interested to know whether such an attitude is from ignorance or snobbery. I'd also like to ask if one considers only whisky made from malted barley to be whisk(e)y how would that person define a distillate made from a fermented grain mash containing grains other than barley?

Edward_call_me_Ed
11-08-2007, 01:34
I would be interested to know whether such an attitude is from ignorance or snobbery. I'd also like to ask if one considers only whisky made from malted barley to be whisk(e)y how would that person define a distillate made from a fermented grain mash containing grains other than barley?

Equal parts each as far as I can tell. The truely knowable scotch drinkers I have known understand that bourbon is whiskey. One guy I had this conversation with said, "Scotch is whiskey. Bourbon isn't, bourbon is bourbon." I told him to look the relevant terms up in a dictionary.

Ed

cowdery
11-08-2007, 12:22
I concede that I am trying to get people to think differently. I also think that most of the opponents of my recommendation have helped me make the point because, for the most part, their argument is that while "color" and "colour" are just different spellings of the same word, "whisky" and "whiskey" are two different words. I believe that position is both wrong on its face, unsupported by any lexiconic authority, and illogical.