GreatDrams Big Question: Which is the best glassware for whisky?

let’s begin

So, I asked the big question around whether or not you’re a diluter - thanks for all your emails and comments by the way, really interesting to hear your thoughts. Today I’m asking; which is the best glassware for whisky?

I’m a huge fan of the Glencairn glass myself, and have hundreds of them in my office that are used for tastings and for reviews, but I do also use other glassware such as the ISO glass from time to time in my office and in official tastings and judging panels, for the IWSC and The Spirits Business Masters, but what glassware is best?

For me the best glassware for whisky comes down to personal preference much of the time.

I used to be a huge fan of crystal tumblers, using a pair that were my dad’s for years until I bought all the Glencairns, and loved them, the weight felt good, the quality felt good, I felt good holding them and using them, and I really enjoyed the informality of them; there was no pretence and no need to analyse like I feel with other glassware, they were just for fun.

I still have them, granted, but cannot remember the last time I used them. Truth be told I got one out last week expecting to use it when trying a bottle of 50 Year Old whisky I bought from The Boutique-y Company, but opted for the Glencairn instead.

I’m not entirely sure I like the NEAT glass that is on the market, and has been for a couple of years, it seems to take a lot away from the experience for me and I found myself spilling precious cask strength whisky down my beard as there is no defined lip to it… but acknowledge that was probably my bad. Either way, I never tried it again.

Having your own understanding on what the best glassware for whisky is will play a huge role in your enjoyment of the spirit

Glassware plays a massive role in one’s enjoyment of whisky, and at the end of the Spirit of Speyside session with #TheTwoIans, attendees got to nose the same whisky from several different glasses to see what the differences were, the characteristics were, and what would be their preferred vessel of choice.

I won’t go into the detail around which came out on top, although there were no Glencairn glasses present, but it was interesting that each person had different emotive responses to each glass, and it left Ian, Ian and myself wondering:

With the proliferation of glasses on the market now and assuming there are more in development somewhere, will we get to the point where the back label of any and every whisky bottle has an icon designating which glass to enjoy each whisky with?

Tags: best glasswareISO glassWhisky
Picture of Greg


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

You might be interested in

More from the blog

3 thoughts on “GreatDrams Big Question: Which is the best glassware for whisky?”

  1. Reading this post has been quite interesting. It got me thinking, I bought my partner a set of Nolan glasses, he now swears by them and mumbles when he has to drink whisky out of any other glass. I was wondering if anyone else has tried them and how they measure up to the Glencairn glasses.

    • See personally I did not enjoy the Norlan glass that much, but love a Glencairn… they, for me, are what whisky should be served in… then a chunky crystal decanter for special occasions / drams…


Leave a comment

Login / register