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Difference Between Irish whiskey and Scottish Whisky (Scotch)

Irish whiskey vs Scottish Whisky (Scotch)

Irish and Scottish whisky are two of the most exquisite distilled spirit known to man. The obvious difference of these two is that Irish whiskey is made in Ireland while Scottish whiskey is made in Scotland and the fact that an Irish calls it whiskey while a Scot calls it whisky.

Irish Whiskey

Irish whiskey must be distilled and matured in Ireland and that it must contain an alcohol coming from continuous distillation of malted and not malted barley and other grains. It is distilled three times which makes this whisky lighter in taste and aroma and may have a softer more neutral flavor. It is also aged in wooden casks for not less than three years.

Scottish Whisky

Scottish whiskey must be distilled in Scotland from barley and water. It has a stronger aroma due to the fact that the barley used in creating the spirit is first sprouted then dried with peat smoke which gives it that unique scent. This strong flavor is also due to it being distilled only twice. The spirit is aged in wooden casks for at least 2 years.

Difference between Irish whiskey and Scotch

The similarity between an Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky is only at their main ingredients, in which both are made from barley and water. But beyond that both are unique from each other. The most significant difference between the two spirits is their flavor. Irish whiskey is lighter in flavor than Scottish whisky due to the differences in the distillation process. An Irish whiskey pass through a triple distillation while a Scotch only double. Furthermore, the Irish whiskey is distilled by using copper pot-stills giving it that subtle taste while Scotch uses continuous process pot-stills giving it that firm zest. In addition to that, Irish whiskey is made so as to emphasize the natural flavor of barley while Scotch does not.

But given these, we are not picky.

In brief:

• Irish whiskey, with an “e”, must come from the distillery of Ireland and that it has a lighter taste and aroma.

• Scottish whisky, without an “e”, must be distilled and matured in Scotland and that it has that distinct flavor due the peat smoke use in drying the barley used.

• Both are made from the same ingredients, barley and water, but distillation process is different.

• Both are delicate wine that needs discerning taste.


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  • Mark Backhouse

    Your intention may be to educate but your facts are very poor and extremely misleading. It seriously angers me when people publish utter rubble.

    Your undestanding of whisky is so incorrect that I assume you gleaned your knowledge from bars and backyard barbecues.

    Pure pot still Irish whiskey is triple distilled in copper pot stills using a combination of unsmoked malted and malted barley.

    Single malt scotch whisky is double distilled in copper pot stills using only malted barley.

    You now understand the difference between pure pot still and single malt.

    Both blended versions of Irish or Scotch whisk(e)y add column distlled ((also known as continuous distillation) whiskey.

    Please research if you lack know how.

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