how to spell whiskey

Whiskey vs Whisky: Please shut the hell up already

When whisky vs whiskey pops up in conversation I immediately look around for sharp implements and/or poison with which I can violently murder the trollish baboon who brought it up. I always carry a fountain pen in my pocket but honestly, it’s expensive so I don’t want to waste it on something as mundane as murder killing a lexicographically challenged troglodyte who insists that whiskey with an e means it’s from Ireland where whisky without oh my god I am stabbing myself as I write this.

Because it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t. Read closely the following phrase: I love scotch whiskey. An observant person would notice that I have professed my love for the magical elixir produced in that country which sits defiantly assward upon England’s upturned visage. A trollish dickwardian factotumphile would note that I spelled whisky wrong. Loudly. Endlessly. They would bring it up for the rest of my life in meetings, at parties, on the way to work. Wherever it is in my life I begrudgingly spend time with them, they would find a way to bring it up.

Because people who bring up whiskey-vs-whisky are the self-satisfied vegan 5K runners of the whiskey world.

They are addicted to minutiae. They are comforted in tedium. They are satisfied with seeing their reflection in the shiny surface of the thing at hand and here dear readers is the heart of the matter: they are fragile eggshell heads who should be course-corrected by their superiors, a near-infinite set consisting of all people to whom the existence of an e in the word whiskey is afforded the sub-fractional blip of attention it deserves, which is statistically unrecognizable from the amount of attention we should afford to the textural consistency of octopus shit and/or the taxonomy of debris one may discover in the ass pocket of a tardigrade’s skin folds.

Because you’re all wrong anyway

The proper way to spell whisky is Uisge, the front half of the Gaelic phrase Uisge Beath1The water of life, for those of you who just spit in your own mouth because I didn’t explain that. I’m writing about you. THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT YOU., which centuries of Gaelic chatter wore down to Uisge—pronounced eh-OOSH-ge—which was further burnished in the forge of common usage to a blurry version of itself, OOSH-ge, which was co-opted and stolen by those people carrying jugs and growlers of it back to their home and therefore into their own Sean Connery mouths, where the word was reassembled as wish-kee which became slightly refined into wisk-kee and thereupon tempered in the cool still waters of mass communications.

But that’s the orthography of whiskey-vs-whisky.

We’re talking about the written word here so please allow me to pursue the etymological origins of Uisge Beath and oh shit, I’m already there: GAELIC WAS A RUNIC LANGUAGE CALLED FUTHORC WHEN WHISKEY WAS FIRST DISTILLED. It was carved into rocks in the highlands with the blunt tips of bronze swords as glyphs and lines, not letters and words. Whiskey looked like this: ᚢᛁᛋᚷᛖ. Do you see an /e/ in there? Do you? No. You don’t see an /e/ in the ONLY CORRECT WRITTEN FORM of Uisge, or whiskey, so do me a favor and shut the fuck up about it.

Author: Bull Garlington
Bull Garlington is an author and columnist in Chicago who writes about the madness of travel, analog tools, food, wine, and whiskey. Garlington lives with [his attorney], smokes black cavendish, hikes the easy trails, and makes a mean gumbo yaya.