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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.
Ice, Water, or Whiskey Stones
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.
Best Glencairn Set: Glencairn Whiskey Glass
Elegance defined. While there are numerous styles of whiskey glasses, the Glencairn was the first to be endorsed by the Scotch Whisky Association. The shape of the glass is derived from the traditional nosing copitas used in Scotch and Irish whiskey labs and distilleries.
-Designed to maximize the aroma
-Lead-free, translucent crystal
-Small capacity—1.5-2 ounces
-Slim base not ideal for clumsy drinkers
Best Double Walled Glass: Norlan Whiskey Glass
The innovative Norlan is designed to capture a whiskey’s complex flavors and aromatics and deliver them to the senses. A protrusion inside the glass creates a wave when whisky is swirled, increasing the rate of oxidization and ethanol evaporation, resulting in a smoother, softer aroma. The outer tumbler allows for easy grasping and drinking while preventing the whiskey from absorbing warmth from your hand. Plus, it’s made of handblown borosilicate glass (a.k.a. Pyrex), which is great for maintaining a steady temperature.
-Designed specifically for whiskey drinking
-Both a social-friendly tumbler and a whiskey lover’s copita
-Fragile and delicate
Best Large Glass: BrüMate NOS’R Stainless Steel Whiskey Nosing Glass
This ain’t no tin cup. Sleek, sexy, and sophisticated, the NOS’R has 20 times better temperature retention than a glass tumbler, minimizing heat transfer and keeping your spirits perfectly cool. It’s awesome for outdoor activities like tailgating, camping, or beach trips.
-Designed specifically to accentuate the spirit’s aroma
-Shatterproof and rust-resistant double-walled stainless steel
Get It: Pick up the BrüMate NOS’R Stainless Steel Whiskey Nosing Glass ($25) at Amazon
Best Luxury Glass: Whiskey Peaks Premium Rocks Glasses
From our pals at Huckberry comes this awesome collection of hand-blown glasses with indented bottoms featuring topographic silhouettes of various mountains of America and around the world: Half Dome, Whitney, the Matterhorn, Kilimanjaro, Everest, and more. Prices vary.
-An ideal gift for the adventurer
-Lightweight and delicate; not dishwasher safe
-Made in China
Best Old Fashioned Glass: Maketh the Man Art Deco Whiskey Tumblers
If you’re more of the Don Draper-type whiskey drinker—or know someone who is—these space-age, Art Deco-inspired tumblers make a suave statement. The thick base adds stability and shatter resistance, and the 10-ounce capacity means they’ll work great for cocktails, too.
-Comes with a nice gift box
-Retro design isn’t for everybody
Best Expensive Glass Set: Marquis by Waterford Markham Old Fashioned Glasses
Boss coming over for dinner? Father-in-law, perhaps? Pour to impress with these gorgeous Waterford Crystal whiskey glasses. With a heritage that dates back to eighteenth-century Ireland, the Marquis brand is Waterford’s “more accessible” line—but we won’t tell.
-Pure, lead-free Waterford crystal, made in Italy
-Great deal (60 percent off!)
-Delicate and fancy; not for “the guys”
-Not dishwasher safe
Get It: Pick up the Marquis by Waterford Markham Old Fashioned Glasses ($38; was $100) at Amazon
Best Small Glass: Kanars Everest Whiskey Glasses
They’re funky and fun, but these aren’t novelty glasses. These lead-free crystal, wide-diameter glasses are great for appreciating the nose of the whiskey—and the contoured shape and heavyweight make them ideal for handing out at parties.
-Great grip with thick walls
-Heavy and durable; dishwasher safe
-Fun and cool, but decidedly un-fancy
Best Unique Glass: Original BenShot Bullet Glass with Real 0.308 Bullet
Okay, this is admittedly a novelty glass, perfect for hunters or gun lovers. While there are plenty of knock-offs on Amazon that get lousy reviews—bullets falling out, corny graphics washing off—Original BenShot has nearly 200 customer reviews, and all but one are rated the full five stars.
-Made by a father-and-son team in Wisconsin
-100 percent safe to use; no gunpowder, no casing, and no lead.
-For gun lovers only
Get It: Pick up the Original BenShot Bullet Glass with Real 0.308 Bullet ($35) at Amazon
Best For Bourbon Glass: Dragon Glassware Diamond Whiskey Glasses
The tilted glass allows your drink to aerate as it is poured and swirled. Comfortable to hold and elegant to display, the 2-inch mouth may be limiting for those who prefer block ice. It works great as a wine or cordial glass, too.
-Unique shape makes a great conversation piece
-Great for hot drinks
-Microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe
-Narrow 2-inch mouth
-Not an ideal shape for whiskey
Best Thick Base Glass: Right Place Old Fashioned Whiskey Glass
For the connoisser who takes their whiskey straight, this glass doesn’t need any gimmicks or fancy designs. Classically simple, these 10-ounce heavy base glasses are dishwasher safe and guaranteed not to etch, cloud, or discolor. Plus, the box set of four glasses comes with six granite chilling stones.
-Heavy base for stability
-Won’t etch, cloud, or dull
-Chilling stones are included whether you want them or not, elevating the cost
-Might be too plain for gifting
Best For Scotch Glass: Venero Twisted Whiskey Tumblers
The high style and heavy base of these 10-ounce whiskey glasses makes them ideal for everything from a quiet dram after a fine meal to having the gang over on poker night.
-Durable: 1/8-inch-thick walls and weighted base
-Made in China
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