Do you ever find yourself pondering life’s age old questions… Scottish Bagpipes or Irish jigs? Irish wool or Scottish Tartan? Scotch Whisky or Irish Whiskey? Okay – we might be alone on the first two (But come on… Riverdance is incredible…), but we know you’re curious about the third question. Seattle Scotch & Beer Fest gives you the chance to taste and make a decision for yourself, but we thought we’d break down the beverage basics so you don’t start sniffin’ and sippin’ without a little background.

Let’s start with the obvious e, or lack thereof. You technically wouldn’t be kick out of the Scripps Spelling Bee if you left out the e in Whiskey. The Scots and Irish do indeed spell Whisk(e)y differently and it all breaks down to the translation of the word in their own Gaelic forms.

Another obvious (yet it has to be said) difference in Scotch and Irish Whiskey is location. Scotch can only be made in Scotland and Irish Whiskey can only be made in The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Moving on to the less obvious, the main differences in Scotch and Irish Whiskey stem from their distillation processes. You see, Scotch is 2x distilled and Irish Whiskey is 3x distilled. The extra distillation makes Irish Whiskey incredibly smooth and drinkable, where as Scotch has a bit of a bite (which is not a bad trait in the slightest). That bite is also due to the uniquely Scot process of using peat to dry out the grains, which gives it the smoky flavor you’ve come to know and love.

There are even differences found in how to enjoy Scotch and Irish Whiskey (everyone’s favorite part we know!). The smoothness, floral scents, and nutty accents found in Irish Whiskey lend itself nicely to cocktails. On the rocks is also highly encouraged. Whereas the boldness found in Scotch calls for a bold move. Enjoy neat (aka don’t muddy it up with ice or mixers).

Differences aside, Scotch and Irish Whiskey are in the end, both Whiskey, and to quote author George Bernard Shaw, “Whisky is liquid sunshine.” We live in Seattle – we NEED more sunshine in our lives. Come indulge in both sunshines at Seattle Scotch & Beer Fest.

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