Before we start talking about the best whiskey glass, let’s make one thing clear before we begin: there is no wrong way to drink whiskey. Sure, we might discourage certain ways of drinking whiskey, but ultimately we hope you’re enjoying the hunt and booze the way you like it most.
We’ve talked in depth about how to pour whiskey without spilling, but what are you pouring it into? If you’re spending a lot of money on bourbon, you’ll want to get the most from it by accentuating the aromas and taste.
Why Is A Whiskey Glass Important?
So you have a couple rocks glasses laying around. This might be fine if you prefer your whiskey over ice. The chill and melt can cut some of the sharpness of a high-proof bourbon and make it easier, and maybe more refreshing to drink.
But if you want to really pull out the flavor and complexity of your bourbon or scotch, it’s imperative to use an appropriate glass. Some of the ethanol bite of a strong whiskey can be cut simply by funneling the better aromas to your nose as you sniff and taste your whiskey. You may find that over time you can (and probably should) ditch the ice.
The Best Whiskey Glasses
Our Recommendation: The Glencairn Glass
While “best” might be a superlative that comes loaded with opinions, no conversation about whiskey nosing glasses can be taken seriously without discussing the Glencairn. This is the most classic of whiskey nosing glass, originally developed for Scotch but celebrated around the world for bourbon, Canadian, and Japanese whiskeys alike. Every good home whiskey bar should have a few of these Glencairn glasses available.
Glencairn glasses are the perfect shape for nosing whiskey, and they make sure you can absorb all the vanilla, caramel, cherry, and oak spice notes from your favorite bourbons. These are often the glass of choice for whiskey competitions and spirit reviewers. On top of all that, a single, standard Glencairn costs only about $6-$7. You can also spend a little more to get them in crystal, cut glass, or engraved versions. You can shop various Glencairns on Amazon.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail Whiskey Glasses
Newer on the scene is the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Whiskey Glass. You’ll notice a lot of similarities to the Glencairn, but the wider body of these glasses allows for more evaporation surface area and a potentially stronger aroma. These glasses are made in the USA and designed to be the official tasting glass of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Most of the distilleries out there are moving in this direction, at least for their tasting rooms. It’s heavy and feels strong in your hand, and will give you an enjoyable swirl of your whiskey. This isn’t just for bourbon, though. Try tasting scotch, tequila, or rum with these glasses as well!
Norlan Whiskey Glasses
For a more modern design, look no further than the Norlan Whiskey Glass. Unique inner protrusions claim to reduce ethanol burn to help highlight the more flavorful notes of your whiskey. The rim is shaped just right to fit your lip for comfortable, mess-free sipping. Norlan Whiskey Glasses are billed as light-weight, and that’s definitely true. They are slightly less fragile, but you can barely feel the glass in your hand. Some whiskey enthusiasts enjoy the minimalism of the Norlan glass, but plenty of reviewers wish it were heavier. Either way, it’s a sleek design that looks good on the shelf and makes for a nice travel whiskey sipper.
Conclusion: The Best Whiskey Glass
Our humble recommendation for best whiskey glass remains the classic Glencairn. We love the wide full body of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail glass, but the Glencairn will always be in style and is most versatile across different spirits. We also like that there are so many different options and price points to shop at — a Glencairn for every occassion.
What’s your favorite whiskey glass? Any unique tasting options we should add to the list? Let us know if the comments!