The Difference Between Scotch & Irish Whisky
You might think the world of whisky lovers is quite a simple group of drinkers. However, it is a lot more diverse than you might realise. Simply ordering a ‘whisky’ when you’re next out for a drink could result in something bitter and smoky, or something smooth and sweet, or something else entirely. Which, if you have a very broad taste pallet might not be a problem. But for most, you’ll find a particular style and stick to it. Which is why it’s important to know the difference between your options.
The Difference In Taste
Scotch whisky is usually made from malted barley. This creates a taste that is generally fuller and heavier. Meanwhile, Irish whisky is made of a combination of malted and un-malted barley. This creates a smoother flavour with hints of vanilla that blends a lot easier with other liquids for longer drinks and cocktails.
The reason that Ireland use malted, and un-malted barley is because a ‘malt tax’ was introduced in the country and this meant money was saved! While this tax is no longer around, you will still find some Irish whiskies that are made of entirely un-malted barley.
The Difference In Distilling
Whisky from Scotland will often be double distilled. Whilst, in Ireland it will tend to be triple distilled. The Scottish will use a wide variety of copper pot stills for their distillation process. Ireland still uses copper stills but there is less variety in the different styles.
The Difference In History
Any Irish person will tell you that their Whiskey was made first. This is thought to be because the monks from Ireland made the first traceable prototypes of this spirit. Scottish Whisky followed shortly after in the early 1800’s. It’s still a big topic for debate amongst distilleries and Whisky lovers, but whoever invented it first – we are eternally grateful for the luxurious flavours they have introduced to the world.
The Difference In Spellings
You may notice that the word is spelt as Whisky and Whiskey. This was traditionally Ireland putting in the ‘e’ and Scotland leaving it out. The Irish immigrants introduced the spirit to America, so they kept the ‘e’ in too. However, it is worth noting that the spelling of the word is no longer a binding contract as to where it is from. The two spellings are often used interchangeably. But, most people stick to traditional spellings: no ‘e’ for Scotland and with an ‘e’ for Ireland.
To Summarise The Differences
Both whiskies have more in common than they don’t have in common. However, even the smallest differences can result in huge changes to the final taste and flavour of the drink. The best way to find out which spirit is your favourite it to try them all. That way you can see which flavour and texture you like the most. It’s always worth visiting a distillery if you are ever visiting Scotland or Ireland too!