It’s an age old question, and with more people tasting whisky at home these days, one that’s more relevant than ever: what is the best glass for whisky?
The Dram Team have been involved with quite a few virtual whisky tastings now, and so I’ve been thinking about ways to step up the home bar.
Since research into how we taste, our perception of flavours, and even the psychology behind it is still ongoing, there has been quite a lot of debate over whether certain shapes of glasses actually mean we can nose and taste more flavours. All I know is, for me, the quality and feel of a glass certainly impacts how much I feel like I’m enjoying a nice single malt!
So to try and answer this question, I’ve asked some of my expert whisky friends from around the internet to talk about what they think are the best glasses for drinking and tasting whisky.
“I’m quite biased when it comes to whisky glasses, because my boss helped design one – The Perfect Measure glass. Over the past year-and-a-bit, it has become the standard glass I use every day to nose and taste whisky when I need to think about it, and that’s leaked over into drinking for fun as well. It’s great for nosing and tasting, fancier than a Glencairn (I love a stemmed glass) and more solid than some of the others out there.
However, when I’m sitting down to drink whisky without thinking about it so much, I go for a tumbler – I’ve got a pair of Stuart Crystal numbers that are great for everything from a dram up to a healthily large Old Fashioned. Weighty, elegant and appropriately fancy. I am nothing if not fancy…”
Get the Perfect Measure glass
Billy Abbott is a booze writer, educator and geek as well as The Whisky Exchange’s ambassador, and currently heads up their blog, but you can also follow his excellent personal whisky blog and find him on twitter (@cowfish) or Instagram (@meatrobot).
“Like whisky. I’m a little complicated when it comes to glassware. There isn’t an ideal glass.
For drinking with pals I’m happy with a tumbler in a pub (remember those?). For assessing a whisky I’ve been consistent with the use of a Glencairn (sturdy and functional). The best glass I’ve found so far is a 1920s blenders glass for gaining access to the depths of aroma. But even that glass isn’t perfect for drinking from.
The best and my favourite glass? Just hasn’t been discovered or perhaps even invented yet. I know. Indecisive idiot.
For the time being my ‘go to’ glass? It’s the closest clean one.”
Read Jon’s whisky reviews on his blog.
Get Jon’s favourite glass here.
“I am a huge fan of drinking from this Cadenhead’s Warehouse Tasting glass. The primary reason is that when I close my eyes the joyous smells, tastes and memories of a fantastic trip come flooding back to me. Also, the glass has a lovely weight to in and it fits in the hand very well. Finally, its size stops me from over pouring, which means I rarely run out of whisky to drink!”
Get the Crystal Spey tumbler.
Rob blogs about his whisky journey over on The Real Dram and you can also follow him on social media at Twitter (@realdramrob) and Instagram (@realdramrob).
“Whisky nosing & tasting analytically is a very different sport to sipping it recreationally, so that influences the glass I pick. For nosing I favour the “copita” style glass (although depends how many whiskies I’m comparing – I’ve only got about 10 copitas and if I’m judging I’ll want all the whiskies to be in the same style of glass) typically made by the lovely folks at Glencairn Crystal. The stem makes it easier to wrangle and not get grubby fingerprints all over the glass, but the shape still guides the aromatics & volatiles.
For drinking out of however my choice is usually more emotive, as enjoyment of whisky is as much about memories & moments as what’s in the glass. So my current favourites are the distinctively shaped ones I picked up from the Oban Distillery and Cadenheads Warehouse tours – in addition to the lovely whisky I’m sipping, I also get to enjoy a tactile reminder of another whisky moment. Or, a nice tall, thin-walled, solid-based cylindrical highball glass if it’s a lovely bubbly highball I’m after. Which is more often than not, these days.”
Get it here.
“I’ve always been a Glencairn fan, right from the start, and still use them today. I like them at Whisky Festivals too, as they’re pretty robust and normally bounce if accidentally dropped! I have tried many glasses over the years, and have a selection at home, but there really is only a couple of glasses I tend to grab these days.
I always use a Boutique-y branded glass for new Boutique-y releases when writing tasting notes too.
However, for drinking whisky, I love a tumbler. I drink whisky because I enjoy it, and don’t need to bury my nose in a glass every time. Here’s a new one that I bought recently; I love the pattern on it, and have matching Highball and Nick & Nora glasses for cocktails too.”
Get it here.
Dave Worthington ran the wonderful Whisky Discovery blog with his daughter Kat for many years, until becoming the Global Ambassador for That Boutique-y Whisky Company. You can follow his whisky travels over on @boutiqueydave .
It seems to be the consensus that a Glencairn or nosing style glass is best for assessing a whisky, but for casual enjoyment, it’s a lot more down to personal preference. We’ve included some links to buy the glasses suggested here, so if you’re looking for a great gift for the whisky lover in your life, look no further! These would make some great Father’s Day gifts, but for even more inspiration, check out our whisky gift guide.
If you’d like to join us on our next virtual whisky tasting, make sure to keep up to date with The Dram Team on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. You can also tag us in your glassware photos to show us what your favourite glass for whisky is!
If you like exploring unique whisky, join the club.
Warmest whisky wishes,
Chris (Founder, The Dram Team)
P.S. I write to our members a few times a month, and I try to make the emails interesting for any whisky fan. You can get those emails by signing up here.