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Why does a whiskyglass matters?
Choosing the correct whisky glass can really help to improve the drinkers enjoyment and there’s a shape and style of glass for every whisky fan.
These range from the compact Glencairn to the extravagant snifter. My guide should help find the perfect one for you but also explain why these different whisky glasses chance the way you experience your whisky, whiskey or bourbon.
Your choice in glassware will most certainly influence the smells and tastes you perceive. It’s crucial to keep in mind that you want a glass that will concentrate vapors to allow you to really “nose” the whisky/ whiskey or bourbon.
What happens in a whisky glass
The liquid inside the glass, (in this case whisky) has a high alcohol strength. Beginning with 40% ABV up to 65% ABV (Cask Strength). This will mean the alcohol will evaporate and rise up your glass. This will also mean that the ethanol still inside the liquid will evaporate as well. During the evaporation the aroma’s of the whisky will also move up. These aromas will be in the center of the glass. The alcohol and the ethanol will move more to the side because of the shape of the glass. (shown in the picture)
The farther your aromas have to travel true the glass the harder for your nose it will be to determine these whisky aroma’s.
Strong aromas as sherry, sulfur, peat, burned wood, dark fruits and caramel will enter your nose quicker and your brain will analyse and remember these aromas sooner.
As for the more delicate aromas as citrus, floral, nuts and light fruits, it will be more difficult for your brain to recognize these scents.
This is why a smoky whisky or citrus floral whisky will be harder to describe that a sherry based whisky. The overwhelming scent of these whiskies will make it harder to really determine their more complex aroma’s underneath the overpowering aroma’s.
This is why a whisky glass can help you smell more aromas in your whisky. By moving the alcohol and ethanol evaporation to the side and giving it more room for the whisky aroma’s.
Types of whisky glasses
Here are the most common whisky glasses:
The tulip or copita glass
Norman Whisky glass
The Glencairn glass
The whisky tumbler
The highball glass
The snifter glass
The NEAT glass
The Tulip or Copita glass
This glass is based on the copita – the traditional Spanish glass used to sample sherry. It’s become the choice of master distillers, blenders and true whisky connoisseurs around the world. It was once named the ‘dock’ glass on account of its use by merchants who used it to nose wines and spirits at docksides. Its long stem prevents the drinker’s hand (and its polluting smells) from coming too close to the nose, while its bowl shape concentrates aromas through the slightly narrowed rim. The glass can be easily cradled so the spirit can be warmed if desired. Overall, this is a glass suited to the true appreciation of the nuances of single malt whisky.
Norman whisky glass
The Glencairn glass
The taller brother of the tumbler and the glass associated with one of the most revered but simple whisky cocktails in the world: the Scotch and soda. It allows for plenty of ice, spirit and mixer, making for a long and relaxing drink. Today the highball is equally popular amongst fans of other simple whisky serves such as whisky and ginger ale or whisky and lemonade. It’s especially favoured in Japan. Shape doesn’t really matter with the highball, but it wouldn’t do to serve a Scotch and soda in a dimpled pint glass.
A glass firmly rooted in the gentlemen’s club, this one oozes class – think whisky and cigars in the smoking room after dinner. Commonly used for brandy, it’s now very much a glass for the consumption of dark, aged spirits in general. They’re often designed so that, when held partially horizontal, the spirit doesn’t spill out. But all these opulent associations don’t necessarily make for a superior drinking vessel – the snifter’s extravagantly wide body and tight rim can encourage the release of harsh ethanol vapours, overpowering other aromas.
The Neat whisky glass
A new kid on the block, and one for the technically minded, the NEAT glass is the ironic result of a mistake made in a glass blowing factory. Subsequent testing of the peculiarly shaped vessel revealed it was perfectly shaped to direct harsh alcohol vapours away from the nose. The NEAT glass, standing for Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology, squeezes the lighter molecules of ethanol out of its opening, leaving behind the heavier, more enticing molecules within whisky. This is a glass well suited for appreciation, but also for people new to the spirits category in general for its ability to negate harsh aromas. Drinking from it may take a bit of getting used to because of its unusual shape.
Whisky glass cover /lit
A whisky glass cover or lit will prevent the evaporation of the alcohol out of the whisky glass. It also prevents flies or other things from falling in your whiskyglass.
‘There is nothing more annoying then a fruitfly in your whisky.”