We’ve posted about glassware before, and we’ll do it again. Why? Because the vessel is an important part of the bourbon experience. While there are many different and perfectly acceptable styles and brands of glassware to choose, these are the ones we’re most keen on.
The grand daddy of all whiskey glasses, the Glencairn is the standard by which all whiskey tasting glasses are judged. It’s simply the best. You’ll see it in nearly every bourbon and whiskey review we publish on Modern Thirst because it’s the vessel of choice for us. The base makes a great way to hold the vessel while still being able to get a good look at the liquid in the bowl, the narrow top concentrates the aromas while the wide bowl allows a great view of the contents. If you buy no other whiskey tasting glass, buy the Glencairn…
…or the Glencairn knockoff. The Bellemain is nearly identical in every way to the Glencairn except price. At about half the cost, it provides the same shape and nearly the same weight as the Glencairn. What’s different? The base feels a little more rounded…sort of. And it doesn’t say “The Glencairn Glass” on the bottom.
If you prefer drinking your whiskey on the rocks, Glencairn hasn’t forgotten about you. The Glencairn Canadian Whiskey glass has a similar shape to the standard Glencairn, but in a wider format, allowing the addition of more than a couple cubes of ice.
Then there’s this one. I’m not sure what I think of the NEAT glass. Our friends at Bottom of the Barrel Bourbon Podcast reviewed it here, and it’s one of the few dedicated whiskey glasses on the market. You can feel free to try it yourself. For me? I’ll stick with the Glencairn. The extra wide and flat rim just begs for a spill in my eyes, and it looks an awful lot like a spittoon.
If you really want to drink your bourbon cold, and you don’t want your ice melting all over your whiskey, this is the option you’re looking for. I highly recommend the large ice sphere as an alternative to smaller cubes, and this glass is designed to allow you to swirl the sphere a bit to really get that whiskey good and cold.
Lastly, you can try to act like the master tasters in Scotland, and even many bourbon distilleries in the United States by going for Glencairn’s actual nosing copita. This is the traditional vessel used by master tasters at the distilleries themselves, and was the model Glencairn started with when developing their Glencairn Glass. It’s really traditional, and the long stem is prone to shattering…easily. But if you want or need to look exceeding formal or very dainty, this is your option.