Some people call them a Glencairn, some call them a snifter and others call it a tulip. But it doesn’t matter what you call it, is it the right whiskey glass? Let us take a few minutes on the history, the purpose and the use of these Scotch glasses.
The Glencairn Crystal developed the Glencairn glass as an attempt to mimic the glasses that are used in distilleries and whiskey labs around the world. Those glasses, designed just for whiskey, are what whiskey producers determine to give their whiskey best effective taste for their product.
The Glencairn glass is an iconic shape meant to hold the whiskey with a focus on the aroma. Sure, whiskey can be drunk from a tumbler, and the great taste will still be there. But when sipped from a Glencairn. The aromatics of the product are right under your nose.
And when you sip a southwestern style whiskey from a Glencairn, you will smell the oak that the barrels were made from. As well, you’ll notice as a hint of vanilla that gives it the sweetness. You’ll also notice a hint of smoke that comes from the inside of a charred barrel.
The snifter glass was designed for brandy, but because liquor is often grouped together, it has become a specialty whiskey glass. It offers the same design as the tulip so that the aroma is directed to your nose. It also has a stem and a wide bottom so you can swirl your beverage as you sip.
The snifter has a large surface area that contains the liquid which helps it to evaporate. The narrow opening at the top keeps aroma inside and the rounded bottom for cupping in your hand, keep the liquor warm. It has become a favorite glass to use for any beer that has a complex aroma.
Also referred to as a stem glass and is optimized to bring forth in the best way possible the body, the color, the smell and the taste of the whiskey it holds. The tulip exhibits properties which enhance the following aspects:
The tulip glass is a clear, uncolored glass so that the whiskey color can be judged. This glass is not cut which allows the ‘legs’ to be watched at the glass wall. As the whiskey is swirled, single droplets of whiskey will drip from the glass wall and the viscosity can be judged with clarity. The tapering is a small opening where you’ll smell the concentrated whiskey aroma that accumulated. Just as important is the rim of the glass. How the liquid pours affects how it reaches your tongue. Then toward the outside, the glass widens so that the whiskey can flow onto your tongue more, allowing you taste it more.
The Shot Glass
This is the glass for the person wants to slam their whiskey down fast, like the old west saloon cowboys. Today, people think of the shot glass for doing tequila, but it is also likely to be used for bourbons. There are whiskies that are better when they go down slowly but for those that are better when slammed, this is the perfect glass.
The Highball Glass
This isn’t the glass that the average whiskey aficionados’ use, but it has its own well-deserved place on the list of whiskey glasses. There are those that prefer to consume their whiskey from a bigger glass simply because they like it with ice and room to mix with something.
Drink Whiskey Like You Want
There are some whiskeys that are best poured into specific glass simply because of how they are consumed. And when it comes to enjoying your choice of whiskey, enjoy it in any number of ways. No matter if you like your whiskey straight up, on the rocks, or mixed with something, even water, the point is to enjoy your whiskey.
For the most part, one’s preference for how they receive the flavor and want the aroma to resonate will decide the right glass. If you are one that sticks to the “rules”, then follow those rules and enjoy your whiskey. We can most likely blame James Bond 007 and other movie and television characters for setting many of the “rules” on how to drink whiskey. The ice buckets, tumbler glasses, and fancy carafes were the ritual of pouring a Scotch on the Rocks or a quick slam of a whiskey.
For sure, the tumbler is the perfect glass when you want to add ice or mix coke, ginger ale or water to your whiskey. But you can also drink your whiskey straight from a tumbler too. After all, rules are made to be broken, right?