If you’re new to the deep complicated well that is the tasting and drinking of whiskey, there are plenty of things to learn.
Very often people get hung up on choosing which type of glass is best to drink whiskey out of. This buyer’s guide will give you a great start in finding the perfect set of whiskey glasses.
In a hurry? Check out this chart to see at a glance which set of whiskey glasses are the best.
Our Reviews Of The Best Whiskey Glasses
Venero Crystal Whiskey Glasses
These luxury whiskey glasses, come in a beautiful luxury gift box with a satin inlay. They’re our second choice for the best crystal whiskey glasses on the market.
Paksh 7-Piece Italian Crafted Decanter & Whisky Glasses
The Paksh whiskey glasses set with a decanter is the perfect stylish, classy gift for someone wanting to kit out their home bar.
A decanter can add a lot of essence to the whiskey drinking experience, and why not have a decanter that matches your glasses?
ROCKS Whisky Chilling Stones Gift Set
This Whiskey chilling stones gift set by ROCKS, is a superior starter kit to a budding whiskey aficionado.
With beautiful twisting rocks glasses, perfect for whiskey or any other cocktail you can imagine, and six granite multi-colored chilling stones, anyone would be happy to receive such a gift.
LEEBS Whisky Stones and Two Glass Set
This whiskey stones, two glass set, is the perfect gift for the whisky lover in your life.
The glasses are just the right size and shape for a beginning connoisseur, and whiskey stones give the drinker an opportunity to keep the liquid cold, but not diluting the drink like ice cubes would.
Why should anyone have special glass for drinking whiskey?
There are a few arguments for and against owning specialized whisky glasses.
The against arguments mainly center themselves around the idea that the main factor in how the whisky tastes is the whisky itself, and has much less to do with the vessel you drink the whisky out of.
And while, yes, the main thing that makes a whisky good is how it’s prepared, there are subtle effects of specific whisky glasses that bring out certain notes when it comes to tasting whisky.
First, there’s the shape of the glass. One important thing that whisky aficionados take into account that the layman would not is “the Nose.”
Nosing is the whisky drinker’s term for smelling the spirit, and specialized whisky glasses are shaped in a way that will make nosing more pleasant for the noser.
Swirling is an important factor to take into account when purchasing a specialized whisky glass.
While an advanced swirler will be able to swirl their whisky in any glass given to them, there are some glasses, like the brandy snifter which are designed with high rounded walls, giving the whisky plenty of space to release its pleasant aroma.
Another factor to take into account is the temperature.
When sipping a drink that’s been getting ready to be drunk for years, minor changes in the liquid’s temperature can make the biggest difference.
Because of this, tulip shaped whisky glasses, and the fun-to-spell Glencairn, give the drinker a place to hold the glass that will reduce the amount their hand will warm the whisky.
Regardless of how useful these specialized whisky glasses are, there’s something to be said for elevating the whisky drinking experience by having special glasses for this amber liquid.
In many cases the whisky has sat still in a lightless barrel for at least a decade before it’s been bottled and placed on the bar or counter.
Placing the scotch or bourbon into a glass especially reserved for it makes the whole experience that much more magical.
Whiskey Glass FAQ
The NEAT Glass
Choosing a special glass for whisky needs to take a few factors into account. First and foremost, you must consider the whisky being drunk.
If you’re just at the beginning of your whisky journey and starting with the cheap stuff you can find at the supermarket, it’s not going to matter much what glass you drink it out of.
The cheaper whiskies don’t have the subtlety that specialized whisky glasses are meant to bring out.
They’re more valuable to have if you’re planning on drinking the more expensive whiskies.
That isn’t to say that more affordable whiskies cannot be enjoyed with the same kind of reverie as the more expensive ones, it’s simply pointing out that the whiskies that have been aged for a longer time will have more notes to detect, and those older whiskies are likely to be the more expensive brands.
The second, and arguably most important factor to consider when buying a specialized whisky glass, is the style of the whisky drinker. Whisky glasses come in many different shapes and sizes.
Some with tall curvy bodies and thin stems, some, like the classic old fashioned glass, are squat and robust, great for clinking and having a jovial time.
Whereas some of the thinner, more delicate glasses should not be used for violently cheers-ing.
That being said, we’ll cover a few of the basic glass shapes, their benefits and drawbacks in the rest of this section.
The Whisky Tumbler
Otherwise called a “Rocks Glass” an “Old-Fashioned Glass” or a “Lowball”, this glass is the level one of whisky glasses.
Its squat, open rimmed shape allows the drinker plenty of room to swirl the whisky, also giving them the option of throwing a few ice cubes into it to water it down, if they’re a beginner.
This type of glass isn’t the best when it comes to nosing the whisky. Its wide mouth doesn’t do anything to separate the ethanol fumes from the sweet specific whisky smells.
This type is also durable, one of the reasons it’s become the go to choice for bars and parlours; you don’t want the glass shattering in your hand as you go to toast a friend.
The Tulip-Shaped Glass
Based off of the copita, a spanish glass used for sampling sherry, these types of glasses are perfect for the whisky connoisseur.
Their shape pulls the ethanol away from the sweet smell of the spirit, giving the drink a richer scent.
This type of glass has also been called the Dock Glass, from the times that dock workers would use these long stemmed glasses to sample wines.
One primary reason for the glass’s long stem is that it keeps the drinker’s hand as far away as possible away from the nose.
Ensuring the drinker smells whisky and not their own hand.
As silly as such a claim might sound to the layman, the slightest contaminating smell added to the whisky’s rich and complex aroma can taint the nosing experience for the experienced whisky drinker.
The NEAT Glass
More recently, the NEAT glass was invented. This is not the glass that you’d receive at a bar if you asked for something “neat.”
Instead NEAT stands for Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology, and refers to the peculiar shape of the glass. Viewed from the side, it looks a little bit like a squat glass chamber pot.
With the glass moving inward from the rim, and then back out again around toward the bottom.
This NEAT glass was a surprisingly welcome addition to the accepted spirit specific glasses as its peculiar shape whisks the harsh alcohol vapors away from the drinker’s nose.
Drinking from this type of glass, can take some getting used to, with its unique shape, but those who have used these NEAT glasses have validated that they do improve the experience of drinking a glass of whisky.
What does a decanter do for whiskey?
The act of decanting something, like a bottle of red wine, or indeed a bottle of whisky is done by pouring the liquid from its original bottle into a larger container.
For wine, decanters are meant to oxygenate the wine, so their shapes can be quite fantastic.
Wide bases, emphasizes surface area, and the longer the wine stays exposed to the air, the more the wine changes its flavor.
For whisky, however, decanting is largely an aesthetic thing.
It has more to do with the status that comes from uncorking your crystal decanter and pouring one or two nice lowball glasses of a fine whisky, than it is about altering or enhancing the flavor of the whisky.
In fact, if you would like to use a decanter, it’s a good idea to make sure that the bottle will be air tight.
If the whisky is left out, or open, it can oxygenate just like the wine would, only it doesn’t do nice things to the flavor of the whisky. Instead it can become sour, making a big waste of money and fine spirits.
How long does whiskey last in a decanter?
This will depend on the type of decanter.
Firstly make sure that the decanter you choose is crystal and lead-free.
Any decanter purchased new, or recently, will of course be lead free, but there are antique decanters that may have been made with lead.
This is dangerous because over time the lead can leach into the the whisky poisoning the drinker.
Once you’ve chosen a decanter that suits your fancy and was not made with lead, you have one more box to check before you’re ready to pour that amber liquid into your crystal container and watch it interact beautifully with the light.
You must make sure that the decanter has a seal of some sort to keep the air from getting in to the bottle.
A thin rubber seal or a weighted cap with a mirrored opening will do the trick. The main purpose of this is to keep the whiskey from oxygenating too much over time.
Keeping the whiskey and oxygen separate will keep the whiskey alive for longer.
Whiskey that’s been poured into a decanter with a good seal can last indefinitely, although it will probably be drunk before then.
Indeed, whiskey as a liquid doesn’t technically go bad, its flavor just shifts and changes to something tasting less like whiskey after a while.
If you’re on the fence about how good the whiskey that’s been sitting in a decanter for the last few years, trust your nose and if you’re feeling adventurous, your tongue.
If either give you a nasty flavor, it might be time to throw it out, and get a new bottle.
How to cool your whiskey?
We’ll get to that in a moment, but we’ll start with the first question: Why cool your whiskey?
Any alcohol changes in many different ways when you change its temperature. Firstly, the liquid become much more viscous as the temperature drops.
This means that all of the little elements in the whiskey are moving more slowly; they’re more stable, meaning that they’ll stay around longer.
To put it a different way, a warm glass of whiskey will give off those warm potent alcohol smells and tastes.
This is because at room temperature the alcohol evaporates fairly quickly, taking with it some of those precious elements that a whiskey connoisseur loves so much.
If you cool the drink down though, using any of the methods listed below, this in a sense, calms the drink down.
Keeping all those lovely flavors around for a little bit longer; enhancing the overall flavor.
Whiskey is a complicated drink with many different facets. Drinking whiskey can be one of the finest pleasures if you know what you’re looking for.
Paying attention to the quality and shape of the glass, and what an ice cube does to the taste makes the difference between a beginner whiskey drinker and a connoisseur.
We’ve looked at several different sets of glasses in this article. Our advice is for you to consider each one, and how well they’d fit with the prospective owner of the glasses.
If you’re buying them as a gift for a friend or a loved one, make sure they fit their own personal style and level of expertise when it comes to whiskey.
And as ever, be sure to inspect the reviews for yourself, to make the most educated of decisions.
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