Unveiling the Best Glassware for Savoring Spirits: A Comprehensive Guide
I’ve recently delved into the world of whisky spirit glasses, conducting my own experiments to determine the best vessel for enjoying this beloved spirit.
Each contender was given 25ml of JW Black Label, a quantity I consider necessary for a comprehensive whisky evaluation and one commonly provided in bars for tasting. Here’s a rundown of my findings, from left to right:
The classic, official whisky glass. It offers a fairly intense nose, and thanks to its height, it manages to temper the alcoholic burn.
This glass falls right in the middle in terms of aroma accessibility—it captures most, but not all.
While it’s quite sturdy and can withstand a few drops, the drawback is that it’s not the most comfortable to hold for extended periods without warming the whisky inside.
Surprisingly, I only recently learned that this glass also hails from Glencairn.
Unlike the classic Glencairn, this one is more comfortable to hold for extended periods without affecting the whisky’s temperature.
Its long stem also makes it easier to swirl the whisky around.
The nose is more intense with this glass, which can be either good or bad, depending on your preferences and the whisky in question.
You can dilute the spirit more and still get a robust aroma when using this glass.
Despite its visual resemblance to Glencairn, I would not recommend this glass.
The absence of a stem may appeal to those prone to spills, but there’s no way to hold it without warming the whisky.
Additionally, its short stature results in excessive alcohol burn and limited aroma when nosing.
Master of Malt Copita:
This glass is almost indistinguishable from Glencairn’s counterpart.
Master of Malt’s version is slightly taller and features a slightly larger opening.
It provides the same intensity of aroma, with the same pros and cons.
The shorter stem offers increased stability, but I find myself touching the bowl slightly when holding it, which may not significantly impact the whisky before consumption.
Perfect Dram: Acquired at various distillery tours, these glasses are cute, pocket-sized, and surprisingly robust. However, they are essentially Glencairn imitations.
They are advertised as spirit glasses and excel in tastings but fall short as nosing glasses due to their short stature.
You’ll experience more alcohol burn and less aroma compared to other glasses. Perfect for hiking and travel, just not ideal for exploring unfamiliar whiskies.
Classic Malts Glass:
This glass closely resembles Glencairn in terms of bowl height but has a slightly narrower tulip shape.
While it features a longer stem, preventing the warming of the whisky, it hasn’t seen much use in my collection.
The nose is somewhat less intense due to the subtle differences in design. It appears sturdy but doesn’t stand out as a must-have.
TWE Whisky Show Glass: In Richard Paterson’s words, “this is shit,” and in my experience, I have to agree.
It appears fragile, has a wider rim that doesn’t contribute to its performance, and aesthetically, it lags behind the others.
While it boasts a long stem and avoids warming the whisky, there’s little else to recommend it.
My advice: steer clear of this one.
In summary, I was anticipating some differences but not to this extent.
Going forward, I’ll put more thought into my glass selection.
In the event of an earthquake shattering all my glasses, I’d opt for the classic Glencairn and a copita glass.
This way, I’d have one glass for everyday enjoyment and another for fully immersing myself in the world of whisky.
What Kind of Whiskey Do You Prefer?
In terms of answering this question, it relates to the previous one.
It is better to drink some types of whiskey on-the-rocks, such as scotch.
The best way to enjoy some spirits, such as whiskey and bourbon, is neat.
This may not matter to you if you do not adhere to the “rules” of whiskey snobs. Nevertheless, you will want to choose the glass most suitable for the style of whiskey drinking the distillers suggest.
Can Spirit Glasses Make a Difference?
Yes, in a nutshell.
The use of scientifically designed spirits glasses, such as the Neat or the Glencairn glasses above, can provide additional benefits to the enjoyment of a spirit or whiskey.
It doesn’t matter what you use to drink spirit – a coffee cup, a plastic cup, or even an old boot. You shouldn’t do it, however. Spirits, especially whiskey, should be enjoyed as a memorable experience.
Grab your favorite glass from the cabinet; drop a single ice cube; listen to the whiskey gurgle out of the decanter; then hold the full glass.
Alternatively, for a quick and tasty way to get that delicious brown liquor into your system, I would recommend renouncing the glass altogether and just drinking straight from the bottle.
Is Spirit on the Rocks better than neat?
The Glencairn-style glass or the featured “neat” glass is the best bet if you prefer your Spirit untainted by foreign substances.
With or without ice, any glass will work, as long as you chill it first, or get one with the “rocks” feature.
If you like ice’s slow dilution, any glass will do.
For best flavors, you’d be better off using circular ice molds to avoid losing the characteristics of the spirit. Round ice melts more slowly due to its larger surface area, which means less water is absorbed into your drink.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What shape of glass is best for tasting spirits?
A lot of people recommend serving spirits in copita, neat, or glencairn glasses in order to bring out their aromas and flavors. Some people prefer to drink whiskey from a classic Old Fashioned glass.
What is the size of a spirit glass?
It is recommended to dispense spirits in fixed amounts of either 15ml or 30ml. Do not assume that your glass holds one standard drink – be aware of the glass size that your alcohol is served in.
What Makes Spirits Glasses Heavy?
Because of the composition of the glass, crystal whiskey glasses are heavier.
The reason most people simply prefer heavier whiskey glasses with normal glass is that they appear to be heavier, yet are still made that way.
The fact that weighted whiskey glasses feel thicker (and are often thicker and stronger) does not necessarily imply their durability.