The Whisky Glass; it’s what makes the dram look good. You can be as cool as you want, but it’s what’s holding your drink that really makes you stand out.
What glass is best for whisky? It used to be that the tumbler was the king whisky glass. It reigned over all the others, made famous by pop culture and Bond villains. But with fame comes competition, and the tumbler has long since been knowcked off the top spot as what you should be holding when you enjoy a dram.
These days we have whisky glasses specifically designed to you can smell and taste your dram better. Not only do they have the looks, but they have the experience too.
We’ve rounded up a few different whisky glass types and given you the low down on each, so you can know which is going to give you the best taste experience with the best aesthetic experience to boot.
Let’s start with everyone’s favourite; the Tumbler. This glass is fairly typical for a Whisky serve and has been loyal to the drink for many years.
The only issue is the shape. It is straight up and down with a thick bottom and wide rim. It doesn’t really let you get intimate with your dram, especially when nosing it. But they are nice and simple and easy to use.
Everyone loves a good tumbler, just don’t expect big things if you’re looking to do a tasting with one.
From the minds of SruliRecht, BrianFichtner and Shane Bahng comes the Norlan, a feat of science and glass. it has a range of features including double walls, a concave lip and faceted base. It’s also straight on the outside, to make it easier to hold, but rounded on the inside to allow the liquid to spread out.
It also has a protrusion centre to allow the liquid to swirl easier and for more oxidisation to occur, developing a lot of different flavours as they interact with the oxygen.
There is a lot going on with this glass and it looks great to boot. It has a wonderful geometric design on the outside and a whole lot of science going on in the inside.
The Blender’s Glass
The Blender’s Glass might be new to us in the 21st century, but these were all the rage in the 1920s.
Revived through a collaboration between Angus MacRaild, a Whisky history specialist and writer, and The Whisky Exchange, this glass does a similar job to the Glencairn, only with a more bulbous body and smaller rim.
It gathers all of the aromas together and allows the taster to really get to know them.
MacRaild commented, “The blender’s glass works by providing a large enclosed surface area which captures a high level of aromas as they escape off that surface with the evaporating alcohol. It effectively turns up the volume on the aromas of almost all whiskies to a rather startling degree. Can be somewhat intense with cask strength whiskies but for lower abv or more delicate drams it’s really perfect”.
This is one of the most well known Whisky glasses and has become known as The Official Whisky Glass. It is tulip shaped, with a thick stem allowing for ease of use and for you to get up, close and personal with your drink.
The shape of the glass directs the aromas of the Whisky towards the top and funnels them to get a better concentration of smells. This allows you to really get in there and experience the different notes in the nose.
Raymod Davidson from Glencairn sums it up himself: “There has never been a single definitive glass that the whisky world could call its own. Following in the tradition of Scottish innovation, The Glencairn Glass was created combining the knowledge and expertise of some of the whisky world’s leading innovators. It’s roots lie in the traditional nosing glass used by master blenders and connoisseurs around the world. The unique and stylish shape has been crafted with eminent care to enhance the enjoyment of single malts and aged blends.”
The copita glass
This type of glass was originally used in the tasting of Sherry in Spain, but it is now also used by many judges when tasting Whisky, and is favoured by none other than Whisky legend Richard Paterson.
It was once used by wine merchants in the 18th century to taste wine when it arrived at port, becoming known as the “dock glass”.
While it is still used for Sherry tasting, many Whisky experts will use it due to the large surface area it provides and its ability to capture and release different aromas. It is best used with a cap to trap the aromas and allow them to interact with oxygen. This should allow you to get a really good experience of the dram.
The Túath Glass
Designed especially for Irish Whisky, this is an innovative addition to the world of Whisky glassware. It is quite a tall glass, with a funnel shaped rim that will allow for easy nosing.
The stem is designed to act as an anchor, making it easier to hold when swirling it. It is also shaped to allow the alcohol vapours to leave the glass and for the natural aromas to be released.
Commercial Director for the brand, Rosanna Goswell, says, “Whisk(e)y nosing and tasting is seldom a solitary exercise so we created a glass that technically enhances the experience through the chemistry of its shape and the secure comfort it gives in the hand. It is designed to work in a social context, hence its more generous proportions and ease of drinking. It has been really exciting for us to seeing the confidence people get from holding Tuath’s somewhat idiosyncratic base which was inspired by Skellig Michael. Beautiful whiskey deserves a beautiful glass.”
One of the least glass looking glasses on the list, NEAT is more of a bowl split into two smaller bowls. One part captures the aromas and the other holds the liquid. There is also a neck section that allows you to hold the glass without heating up the liquid.
The shape mean the alcohol is able to dissipate off from the glass, leaving the other aromas there to be enjoyed. This might not be the ideal outcome however, as this will also remove some of the aromas that you do want to experience.
A lot of the focus of this glass is on removing the alcohol and unlocking the other aromas.