Published: 12th November 2022

What Makes a Whiskey Glass Special?

When enjoying your favourite whiskey, it arguably tastes better from a special whiskey glass. Ever wondered why?

A true whiskey glass will not only look good but also help to enhance the complex flavour of the whiskey. Different glasses can help to showcase various elements of the whiskey.

For example, a rocks glass or tumbler will provide the drinker with a much more holistic sensory experience, principally because you are smelling all of the whiskeys’ aromas at once. Whereas a Glencairn or tulip shaped glass can accentuate less noticeable aromas due to the more concentrated experience of the smaller opening at the top.

Key Features of a Whiskey Glass

The rim, which is the outer edge of the glass, helps to unearth those first aromas in the whiskey. Therefore, small diameter rims are particularly useful when concentrating the aromas on the nose. Alternatively wider diameter rims allow for the dispersing of those aromas away from the nose.

The body of the glass can enhance both taste and aroma. Glasses which are round and bowl like in shape can help to focus aromas around the nose due to their tapered rim, whilst also enabling more effective swirling of the liquid to support aeration. Rounder bodied glasses tend to be more popular for whiskey tasting.

Certain glasses have thicker bottoms helping to aerate the whiskey. Thick bottoms on the glasses are also important as they help to maintain the temperature of the drink. As the glass is thicker on the bottom, this can help to restrict the drinker’s hand from warming the liquid which could potentially change the flavour of the whiskey. Furthermore, if putting ice in your whiskey, it won’t melt as quickly, and the solid base provides stability which is perfect when using non liquid garnishes for whiskey cocktails.

Glasses with a stem on their base are advantageous for keeping the hand away from the whiskey and for swirling of the whiskey to promote evaporation, which is vital to smelling the whiskey. Swirling also gives whiskey its legs. These are the drops of liquid that form as the whiskey slides effortlessly down the sides of the glass. Whiskey legs can be useful in helping to understand your whiskey. Alcohol is more viscous than water making it heavier, so slower-moving legs indicate higher ABV content level. Heavier legs can also indicate an older whiskey.

Different Whiskey Glasses

The TÚATH (tu – ah) Glass.

Whiskey Glass

From the old Irish for family or nation, this is a conical shaped nosing and tasting glass for whiskey that functions superbly by concentrating & capturing all the aromas and flavours that make Irish Whiskey unique.

The conical shape of the Túath concentrates the vapours while its slightly wider opening and flared top let more of the alcohol vapours flow out, allowing you to nose the centre of the glass without alcohol burn, and the whiskey to express its hidden aromas and flavours.

Traditional Whiskey Tumbler.

Whiskey Tumbler

Often described as the rocks glass, the old-fashioned glass or the lowball, this glass can work with a number of whiskey serves, including neat, on the rocks or cocktails. One of the benefits of the glass is that even though it has a less focussed scent due to the wider dimension around the rim, the equal distribution of aromas upon smelling allows you to smell the whiskey more holistically.

The Glencairn Glass

Glencairn Glass

Often viewed as the number one glass for experiencing the finest whiskey. With a short, sturdy base but also a stem to allow you to swirl the whiskey, the Glencairn is a perfect multipurpose sniffing and tasting glass. The small, but thick neck and narrow rim helps to focus the aromas and diffuse the smell effectively allowing you to appreciate the subtleties and variations in each whiskey through both taste and smell.

The Snifter or Brandy Bowl Glass

Snifter Brandy Glass

Although usually a less popular glass for whiskey, its longer stem and narrow rim allow for both swirling and keeping the hand away from the nose. The spherical base helps to release subtle aromas of whiskey.

Next time you’re enjoying your favourite Irish whiskey, make sure to visit our whiskey section for tasting notes and see if you can pick up on the NOSE, TASTE and FINISH of each.

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