Raise a Glass – but Which One for Which Whisky?

The magic of whisky, for many, isn’t just about the amber-hued liquid itself but also about the vessel from which it’s sipped. Sure, you could pour your favorite spirit into any old container, but when you’re aiming for a refined experience, the shape, weight, and design of the glass matter significantly. Here is our guide to the intriguing world of whisky glasses, so you can enhance your next tasting experience.

Tumbler Glasses

The Old-Fashioned Glass

This short, wide-rimmed glass is robust and typically what comes to mind when someone mentions whisky. With its heavy base, it’s perfect for muddling cocktail ingredients and adding ice or whisky stones. Think of whipping up a cocktail using robust bourbons like Wild Turkey 101 – the flavors blend seamlessly in an Old-Fashioned glass, and it does justice to the weight and strength of these spirits.

The High Ball

Tall, slender, and perfectly poised, the Highball glass stands apart. It’s the choice for those who love their whisky with a dash of mixer, ensuring the flavor doesn’t get diluted. Picture yourself pouring a measured amount of Jameson Irish Whisky, adding a splash of ginger ale, and watching the bubbles rise – that’s the beauty of the Highball.

“Nosing” Glasses

Glencairn Glass

This one’s got a cult following. With a broad base leading to a narrower rim, the Glencairn is all about concentrating those intoxicating whisky aromas. When you take the time to savor complex whiskies, like the Macallan Sherry Oak 12-Year-Old, this glass ensures you catch every note, from fruity undertones to woody hints.

The Copita Boeing Glass

An elegant choice, the Copita’s design takes inspiration from the tulip. Initially intended for sherry, whisky enthusiasts quickly adopted it for its capability to deliver delicate aromas straight to your senses. If you’re keen on comparing whiskies,

Here are some stellar choices:

  • Lagavulin 16-Year-Old
    • Origin: Islay, Scotland
    • Why the Copita?: Known for its intense smokiness, Lagavulin brings the Islay coast to your senses. The Copita captures the layers of seaweed, iodine, and sweet spices, allowing you to get lost in its depth.
  • Yamazaki 12-Year-Old
    • Origin: Osaka Prefecture, Japan
    • Why the Copita?: Japan’s foray into whisky has been exceptional, and Yamazaki stands as an exemplification of their craft. With notes of honey, fruit, and a touch of smoke, the Copita’s curve ensures you’re introduced to each note sequentially, like a well-orchestrated symphony.
  • Balvenie 14-Year Caribbean Cask
    • Origin: Speyside, Scotland
    • Why the Copita?: Aged in rum casks, this whisky offers a unique blend of traditional Scottish malt with the sweetness of Caribbean rum. Tropical fruits, toffee, and a hint of banana are best appreciated through the wide rim of the Copita.
  • Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15-Year-Old
    • Origin: Kentucky, USA
    • Why the Copita?: Among the most sought-after bourbons, its full-bodied flavor with hints of dried fruit, vanilla, and caramel needs a glass like the Copita to truly appreciate its nuances without the interference of alcohol’s sharpness.
  • Ardbeg Uigeadail
    • Origin: Islay, Scotland
    • Why the Copita?: A mix of sweet and smoky, this whisky is a fusion of dried fruit, espresso, and intense peat. The gentle curve of the Copita ensures each aroma finds its way, perfectly paced, giving you a sensory experience that’s nothing short of poetry.

Specialty Glasses

NEAT Glasses

With its quirky design and a name that stands for “naturally engineered aroma technology,” NEAT glasses are for the experimental souls. Built to mute the overpowering scent of alcohol while emphasizing the genuine flavors, this glass works wonders with high-proof whiskies.

But which high-proof whiskies, you might ask? Here are five you should consider:

  1. George T. Stagg
    • Straight from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, this bourbon has a powerful punch, often boasting an alcohol content above 60%. But behind that strength lie layers of dark fruit, chocolate, and caramel. The NEAT glass ensures you experience these profiles without the overpowering alcohol scent.
  2. Aberlour A’Bunadh
    • This single malt Scotch, matured in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks, delivers a rich, deep flavor profile. With tasting notes that include dark chocolate, dried fruit, and spices, it’s a whisky that demands attention. When sipped from the NEAT glass, the true depth of its character, minus the alcohol’s burn, becomes evident.
  3. Cask Strength Redbreast 12-Year-Old
    • As an Irish whiskey, Redbreast offers a harmonious blend of rich, fruity, and spicy flavors. The cask strength version amplifies these characteristics but also brings a robust alcoholic presence. With the NEAT glass, the vibrant notes of dried fruits, nuts, and toffee shine through brilliantly.
  4. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof
    • Renowned for its full-bodied profile, this bourbon serves a complex palette of caramel, vanilla, and woodsy undertones. With its high-proof nature, using a NEAT glass lets you delve deep into its intricacies, focusing on its richness rather than its potency.
  5. Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Cask Strength
    • A beloved Islay Scotch, Laphroaig is known for its smoky, peaty profile with hints of salt and seaweed. The cask strength version is intense, to say the least. However, when paired with the NEAT glass, you’re greeted with a symphony of flavors from the sea, the earth, and the wood, all harmonizing without the distraction of the alcohol’s intensity

A Whiskey Wedge

Imagine pouring your whisky over a sculpted piece of ice, filling half the glass – that’s the Whiskey Wedge. It offers a playful spin on the whisky-drinking experience, ensuring that the drink remains cool without quick dilution. A Michter’s US No.1 Bourbon, with its rich and complex flavors, gets a perfect partner in this glass, offering both an artistic and aromatic experience.

Choosing the Proper Glass

The right glass can transform your whisky tasting, emphasizing aromas, enhancing flavors, and elevating the overall experience. It’s evident in the creation of nosing glasses, which place immense value on the aroma of whisky. Each of these glasses brings out unique aspects of your chosen spirit. Different whiskies, with their distinct profiles, flavors, and stories, deserve the right glass to truly shine. It’s not just about tradition or aesthetics; it’s about optimizing every sip, every aroma, and every moment you share with your favorite drink. Making the right choice ensures that your whisky isn’t just consumed—it’s truly appreciated.