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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    I'm Trying to Start a New Trend.

    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.

  2. #2
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    Re: I'm Trying to Start a New Trend.

    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.
    Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.

    Bob Marley.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: I'm Trying to Start a New Trend.

    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?
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

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  4. #4
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    Cool Re: I'm Trying to Start a New Trend.

    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
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: I'm Trying to Start a New Trend.

    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?

  6. #6
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    Re: I'm Trying to Start a New Trend.

    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?

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: I'm Trying to Start a New Trend.

    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.

  8. #8
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    Re: I'm Trying to Start a New Trend.

    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.
    /\../\

    "I've had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that's the record . . ." - Dylan Thomas

  9. #9
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    Post Re: I'm Trying to Start a New Trend.

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post

    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
    Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur

  10. #10
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    Re: I'm Trying to Start a New Trend.

    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.

 

 

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