I'm no Lincoln.
In fact, I'm usually in the minority on most controversial issues, which is why I wasn't surprised to see John Hansell congratulating Eric Asimov because Asimov got his editors at the New York Times to let him spell whiskey without the "e" when he writes about scotch or Canadian whiskey.
Asimov writes a drinks column for the Times called The Pour. His piece about the spelling issue is here. The posted comments are worth reading too.
Asimov's jumping off point is that words and what they mean matter, but as one of the comment posters, named Dennis, points out, the issue isn't meaning, it's spelling. Then another poster, named Alex, disagrees with Dennis, wrongly asserting that "whiskey" and "whisky" are two different words with different meanings.
They are not.
Naturally, I had to weigh in on this, as follows:
Dennis is right and it matters because Alex, and many other people like him, mistakenly believe "whiskey" and "whisky" are "two different words with two distinct meanings" when they are not. They are just two of the many words (e.g., aging, center, color, maneuver) that our two great English-speaking nations spell differently.
My policy is that American publications should spell whiskey the American way, regardless of the type of whiskey being discussed. I would expect publications in Canada or the UK to do the same, favoring (or favouring) their spelling. (I wrote about this at greater length here.)
The exception would be that when stating the proper name of a specific product, the word will be spelled the way that producer spells it, and also be capitalized as befits a proper name (e.g., Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky).
The extremists in this debate hold that 'whisky' describes single malt pot still spirit only. All other (and, in their view, lesser) wood-aged grain spirits take an 'e.' As a partisan of American whiskey, I believe that disrespects our unique whiskey-making tradition.
This issue usually can be relied upon to stir up a tempest in a tumbler, so let's have at it.