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10 Differences Between Irish Whiskey And Scotch Whisky

Filed in Education by on May 18, 2021

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Difference Between Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky: Scotland and Ireland are two of the most renowned producers of whiskey/ whisky in the world.

Differentiating between both alcoholic beverages is a bit difficult but the very obvious is that Scotch whisky is always spelled without the “e”; Irish whiskey is always spelled with the “e.”

10 Differences Between Irish whiskey and Scotch whisky

Irish Whiskey and Scotch Whisky

Whiskey is manufactured and consumed everywhere in the world but its first distillation can be traced to Ireland. Whiskey production in Ireland resulted from the bread-eating culture where the rural poor would grow grain. And use the mash from the grain to produce whiskey.

Globally, Scotland is credited for refining the most popular grain spirit, and as you may have noticed, it is spelled as ‘whisky’ in Scotland, whereas the Irish prefer to spell it as ‘whiskey’.

The key difference between Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey is the distillation process. While the Scotch brand is distilled only twice, Irish whiskey undergoes triple distillation, giving it a marked lightness. And this is done in pot stills that are thrice the size of normal copper stills, hence the uniquely fine drink that is Irish whisky. Scotch whisky uses uninterrupted process stills.

While making Scotch whisky, the barley used is wholly malted, and it is first allowed to sprout, and then it is dried. The peat smoke is used in the drying process, which produces the distinctive Scotch aroma of the whisky. As for Irish whiskey, raw and malted barley is used in the pot still phase. The barley is dried in kilns that are covered, keeping the barley’s natural flavor, resulting in the key quality of Irish whiskey.

In making Irish whiskey, greater importance is attached to the distilling process, whereas for Scotch whisky, the emphasis is laid on the master blender’s skills. Where blended Scotch whisky is produced by mixing various mature malt and grain whiskies, hence the process of ‘blending’.

The Irish believe in the principle that the ‘skill’ is informing the right distillates, to begin with, a technique they refer to as ‘vatting’. The aging time of the whiskeys differs as well. Scotch whisky is kept in the cask for a minimum of two years, while Irish whiskey is aged for a minimum of three years.

Also, depending on the region where the whiskey was produced, the label on the whiskey will represent that. Scotch whisky can only be labeled ‘Scottish whisky’ if it was produced and matured in Scotland. Likewise, the whiskey made in Ireland is the one labeled as ‘Irish whiskey’.

Other Reads:

Notable Distinctions

1. Irish whiskey undergoes triple distillation while Scotch whisky is distilled twice

2. The Scotch whisky uses peat-smoked, wholly malted barley, while Irish whisky used kiln-dried, raw and malted barley.

3. Irish whiskey is produced by ‘vatting’ while Scotch whisky is produced by ‘blending’.

4. Scotch whisky is casked for at least two years. On the other hand, Irish whisky is kept in the cask for at least three years.


Putting aside blends and grains, single malt scotch and single pot still Irish whiskey are two very different beasts. One is made exclusively with malted barley that’s almost always malted using local peat in the kilning process. The other literally uses a raw version of that ingredient.

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