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Ever had someone ruin a fine scotch by serving it in a coffee cup? When it comes to whiskey, it’s all in the presentation. We’ve had hyped, renowned spirits disappoint us, and we’ve seen ho-hum bourbons come bursting to life—all because of the glass in which they’re served. So, what are the best whiskey glasses you can buy?
The whiskey experience differs with different types of glasses. We’ve listed 11 of the best whiskey glasses you can buy right now that rank 4.5 or more stars on Amazon.
But first, a few things to consider before choosing the best whiskey glasses for you.
Characteristics of the Best Whiskey Glasses
Appearance – The design and composition of the glass have a strong effect on the whiskey inside it. Look for the overall quality of the glassware, as well as the cup’s physical properties such as weight, girth, and grip. How does it feel in the hand? How does it look on the shelf? All of these characteristics are important in the grand whiskey drinking experience.
Drinkability – Drinkability is the ease of drinking from the glass. It’s dependent on the base weight, wall slope angle, and the diameter of the brim. There’s nothing worse than having to tilt a glass so far that when the whiskey does reach your mouth, it does so in a bomb and goes up your nose. That ain’t fun.
Nosing – Smell and aroma are an essential aspect of the whiskey drinking experience. Some drinkers prefer a narrow mouth, so the liquor’s aroma smacks them right in the nose when the glass is lifted. Others prefer a wider bowl to let their spirit breathe, which allows the ethanol fumes to escape and mellows the whiskey’s overall mouthfeel.
Popular Types of Whiskey Glasses
There are several basic types of whiskey glasses. The Tumbler is the most common. It has straight, thick walls and a heavy base that prevents it from breaking easily. Its drinkability is fantastic, but the nosing is somewhat compromised. The delicate Snifter is tulip-shaped, with a thin stem and broad pedestal. Used mainly for cordials, it’s well suited for sipping fine whiskeys and spirits thanks to the narrow mouth that accentuates the nose. A Glencairn is a specially developed whiskey glass that maximizes the three main facets of glassware mentioned above with an easily drinkable mouth, a thick glass pedestal, and a tulip shape that lets the liquor breathe, but directs the aroma right into your nose when lifted to the mouth.
No matter what type you choose, it’s important that your whiskey has room to move around in the glass. Like a fine wine, whiskey needs room to breathe and relax. And the more you swirl it and let it breathe, the smoother and mellower the flavor and body become.
One more thing: Despite what hyped-up sales pitches tell you, there’s absolutely, positively nothing wrong with putting a splash of water or a cube (or three) of ice in your whiskey. It’s well-regarded that whiskey stones and the like are nothing but a gimmick. Do they do what they say, and cool the whiskey without watering it down? Absolutely. Is this a good thing? Not at all.
Water will “open up,” as they say, any spirit, letting the natural flavors come through and meld with the body that’s cooling it (the ice). A whiskey stone (or bullet, or any frozen thingamajig) will sure cool the spirit—and do nothing for its flavor. If anything, it may make your whiskey seem harsher on the palate. Hard pass.
And remember, there’s nothing wrong with having a few different styles in your cabinet, to suit any occasion. Here are 11 whiskey glasses that whiskey lovers rave about.
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