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26 August, 2022

Love whisky? Here’s how to choose the best whisky glasses

Love whisky? Here’s how to choose the best whisky glasses

One of the most crucial things in your whiskey box, after the whisky, of course, is a glass. Selecting the right glass for whisky on the basis of style and shape improves the enjoyment of whisky fans. Moreover, each type of glass prefers a specific situation and style to make your drinking enjoyment. The choice of a person also plays a vital role because whiskey itself is all about personal preference. Whisky glasses are chosen by experienced ones for special occasions.

Let me keep you aware of what kinds of current whiskey glasses the market has. The most familiar kinds of whiskey glasses are the Glencairn, the tumbler, the snifter, the neat whisky glass, and the tulip-shaped glass. Find one or two glasses first that will work best for you, and start to drink like an aficionado.

You should visit more than one distillery, and collect many of the styles that range from the compact Glencairn to the extravagant snifter. Our guide can give you a hand in finding the best glass to make your drink enjoyable.

Characteristics of a Whisky Glass

The taste of whiskey also depends on the kind of glass served. The best glass gives you an excellent tasting experience. The following are the three characteristics of whiskey glasses:

Appearance and Feel

How does glass highlight the look and appearance of whiskey when you serve it at a party? Have you got the right glass in your hand? Can it break simply by breathing on it hard? Generally, glasses should feel balanced, of good quality, and solid in your hand. It also gives a good appearance while sitting on the shelf.


The flow of a drink can be affected by the shape of the glass when tilted to take a sip. During tasting, the narrow design of the glass may reduce the quantity of drink in a sip. The glass edges are also important in drinkability characteristics. Both thick and thin edges can cause hurdles like trickling a sip.

Don’t turn upside down your glass to get the last precious drop of whiskey (the water of life) from the bottom.


Glasses also have the ability to enhance the aromas coming out of them. For high-quality whiskey, choose a glass with a wider opening to allow the spirit to breathe a little more. The design of the glass either directs whiskey’s aroma towards the nose of the drinker or into the air, carrying ethanol fumes. Smelling different aromas and perfuming can have an effect on the overall flavor of a drink. Before pouring whiskey, go to the sink, clean the glass, and pour it down to clean it completely.

Types of Whisky Glasses

Glasses are specially designed to increase the aroma and drink experience. The glass you select can also come down to individual preference.

The Whisky Tumbler

The whisk tumbler, also known as rock glass, is the most common, and you can see this on every bar. This is old-fashioned and has a wide rim. Its wide rim and solidity make it suitable for mixed drinks, lower-end whiskeys and cocktails, but not for nosing.

There are two more prominent forms of whiskey tumbler:

  1. The standard rocks glass
  2. Rounded rock glass


  • Having space for large pours and pieces of ice
  • Doesn’t affect the aromas
  • Present in every bar


  • The thick glass edge
  • It does not provide a soothing feeling in the hand.
  • Can’t enhance the aroma

The NEAT Glass

This is a new innovation in nosing glass. The NEAT (Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology) glass helps to keep away harsh vapors that burn and numb the nose. This was the result of a mistake while making glass in a glass manufacturing factory, but the analysis and testing revealed that the Neat Glass style is the perfect shape for nosing.


  • Evaporating harsh vapors keeps you safe from burning and numbing the nose.
  • Has plenty of space for ice


  • It does not provide a comfort feeling when held.

The Glencairn Glass

People who don’t like the long stem of whisky glasses love the Glencairn Glass. Its wide and solid base makes it stable and difficult to break. Swirling whisky in a Glencairn glass is easy due to its tulip shape. The shape of the glass originated from "nosing copitas" that were used in the 17th and 18th centuries for spirits and wine. Almost all distilleries have this glass for tasting whiskey. You will find this small glass in every local pub in Scotland.


  • Focus on aroma to make it taste better.
  • It has a good look.


  • Space is small.
  • No room for ice cubes
  • Gives dainty feeling in your hand

The Snifter Glass

The Snifter glass, also called Cognac or Brandy glass, is similar to the Glencairn glass and is also referred to as the balloon glass. It has no thick base but can directly sit on the table. Generally, people use it for tasting whisky, as it permits them to savor their whisky. You can hold it partially horizontal with a fall of whisky.

The snifter glass has a narrow tip, a wide bottom vessel, and short-stemmed glass.


  • Hard to whisky spilling
  • Suitable for swirling in the hand


  • Aroma can escape through a wide mouth.

Stem Glass or Nosing Glass

Stem or nosing glass is apparent and clear. You can easily judge your whisky color from it. It reflects less light, so the color appears clearer. While swirling the whisky, the single drop on the glass wall can allow you to check the viscosity.

The stem glass has a narrow opening which gives a concentrated aroma while sipping. According to the rule of thumb, use a large volume glass for heavy whiskies (Islay, Highlands), and a small volume glass for light whiskies (Smooth Highlands, Lowlands).

The rim of the glass impacts how liquid flows onto your tongue. The flow of whisky onto the tongue will be much more comprehensive if the glass widens again.


  • Narrow upper concentrate aroma that improves the sip.
  • Color is more visible
  • Gives the whiskey a broader flow on the tongue


  • Less durable

The Tulip Glass

The tulip glass is also known as the "dock glass" because merchants used it for nosing wines and spirits near the dock. This bowl-shaped vase with a narrow stem is based on the copita, an old Spanish glass used for sherry. Its long stem protects against polluting the smell, keeping your hands away from your nose.

The tulip glass is the choice of true whisky connoisseurs, mixers, and master distillers around the world.

The long stem and narrow base of the tulip whisky glass render it vulnerable to being knocked over or damaged, which is major drawback.


  • Keep your whisky safe from polluting
  • Having a catchy appearance


  • The narrow base and long stem make it easy to break.

The Shot Glass

The shot glass is especially for those people who want to drink a small amount of whisky very quickly. It has a small size, so it's intended for a small amount of alcohol (generally ounces). You can’t use it for a leisurely sip. The shot glass is widely found in high-volume bars. There are two types of shot glass:

Shooter Whiskey Glass: it serves double shots and has more space for garnishing than a traditional shot glass. Its straight sides and light weight allow for making creative shots.

Cordial Whiskey Glass: this has a more formal appearance, like a tulip-shaped glass. You can enjoy a limited amount of whisky without ice. Unlike the shooter whiskey glass, it has flared sides and a small stemmed base.


  • Perfect for control
  • Avoid over pouring or waiting for alcohol
  • Simple to clean


  • No use of ice
  • Can’t enjoy leisurely sips

The Highball Glass

A highball glass is taller than a whisky tumbler, having more room for liquid and ice. This is mostly used in Japan for mixing cocktails with whisky.


  • More room for ice
  • Easy to mix whisky with cocktails in it


  • Aroma can leak out

What you need to know when picking a whisky glass

What are whisky glasses?

Whisky glasses have all the shapes and sizes. This means that everyone can select one according to their own cup of tea. Shot glasses are designed for drinking whisky, while tumblers are used for mixing drinks. Whatever you like to drink, choose the right glass for you. The design and shape of whisky glasses are designed for specific characteristics.

Sensation matters while tasting whiskey. The eyes notice the color, the nose smells the aroma and tastes the whisky as it passes through the lips to the sides of the tongue. Whisky glasses impact the flavor. For a better sip, taste and smell both play their roles.

Some glasses concentrate the smell, and some leak out the aroma. Glasses also help out by leaking out harsh vapors.

You can use any kind of glass to sip your beverage, but the shape of the glass, its composition, the feel when it's in your hand, and how it’s made all matter. Yes, the glass creates an atmosphere and enhances the amusement.

What are whisky decanters?

Like a wine decanter, a whisky decanter is designed for storing whisky. Pouring your whisky from bottle to whiskey decanter causes your liquid to oxidize, which makes a stronger and higher-quality scent of your whisky. Decanters come in various shapes and sizes, so you can use them to decorate your bar, kitchen, or restaurant.

A decanter is a straightforward piece of glassware that decants your whiskey. It undergoes design changes over time to make it more beautiful and advanced.

Why choose handmade glasses?

It's human nature that he feels more reliable with hand-made things because he considers the handmade things more trustworthy and more durable. So, the same case is here with whisky glasses. Almost all whisky connoisseurs will come to an agreement that drinking from a handmade glass is something special. So, the handmade glass makers strive to minimize the differences. There may be minute imperfections and variations in handmade glasses. Handmade glasses are a bit more expensive than others. Make sure that your whisky glass will add amusement to your tasting experience.

Lead-containing glasses and decanters

In the past, people used a thick mug or a thick and heavy glass, but they couldn’t gulp whiskey speedily. Unfortunately, a glass with a thick rim is not favored nowadays. In the past, people made glasses and decanters with thick lead crystal, but in the present era, you merely get a lead-containing glass or decanter in stores, and that purchase will be in an antique store.

To check the lead-containing glass, you have to test it in a lab. However, there are a few tricks you can use to do it at home:

Compare the glass. Lead-containing glass will be heavier. Pass a white light through the glass. A slight white light can make a rainbow prism. If the cuts on your decanter or glass are smooth, there is a possibility that it holds lead.

How does shape affect the drinking experience?

The shape of glasses has great effects on your drinking experience. Each type of glass has a specific character, such as, tulip glass, which directs your liquid aromas to your nose, but some will burn or numb your nose by directing harsh vapors. A shot glass is more preferable for swirling the whisky, and a long glass is preferred for mixing whisky with a cocktail.

The Decanter as a symbol of high status

In the beginning, a whisky decanter on display was a symbol of high social and financial status. But nowadays, these are just pieces of decorative glassware. Even cheaper decanters still make a great, catchy look for your shelves, bar, restaurants, kitchen, and home. Both decanters and glasses give an aesthetic touch to your home. Both come in various shapes.

How to choose the best whisky glass?

The debate on "how to choose the best whisky glass" is as diverse as selecting a whiskey. Some expertise prefer tulip-shaped glasses because they present the flavor and aroma of alcohol. Other whisky lovers say a shot glass is better because it allows for slow sipping. Here’s what some do not know: a glass has an impact on the whole drinking experience.

Basically, a glass is a vessel that is a midway between lips and bottle. But a well-shaped glass can add much more to the drinking experience.

Whisky is all about personal, so personal preference matter. Your budget, storage space, how you enjoy whisky, desired aesthetic, and the types of glass you already use all influence your choice of whisky glass.

How do you enjoy whisky?

How you drink and amuse whisky also determines the design, shape, and size of the glass you have to buy. You can enjoy your whisky:

  • With adding water
  • Using ice cubes or whisky stones
  • With cocktails
  • Neat_ drink pure at room temperature

Choose shot glasses that will keep you away from overdosing on neat whisky. If you want to mix your whisky with a cocktail, ice cubes, and whisky stones, opt for higher volume glasses like tumblers.

What is your budget?

Normally, whisky glasses have a higher price than any other glass. For purchasing your desired set of glasses, focus on your budget. Make sure your normal life does not straggle while you are buying glasses. You can also order this from an online store to avail the best deals.

Consider the bowl shape

To feel the comfort of glass in hand, the bowl area can create big differences. In a large bowl, the swirling of whisky is very easy without the spilling of droplets. A larger bowl means a larger surface area for aroma release.So, swirling and smelling enhance the drinking experience.

Bit larger bowl helps in evaporating some harsh vapours before touching your nose. It also urges you to dissipate the alcohol.

Consider the stem

A stem enhances the beauty of the glass, but it has no effect on the taste of whisky. A large stem saves you from heating up your hand while holding a glass. Stem glass gives a luxury look to your bar, kitchen, or showcase. As long will be the stem, there will be less chance of polluting the taste of the drink with your hands touch. Drinking in a shot glass leaves a warming effect on your hand. The one drawback of having a long tail or stem is that it is easy to break and spill.

Are they easy to clean?

In addition to all the above-mentioned characteristics, check that the glasses you are going to choose are dishwasher safe and will save your energy and time. Some glasses don’t fit into the dishwasher, such as stemmed glasses. Stemmed glasses are delicate_ extreme caution is required when washing and cleaning them.

Also, consider how glasses will be stored in the dishwasher; some require space among them. These factors may lead you to choose the whisky glasses that suit you best.

Can they be stacked?

Bring that glasses into your home that are easy to store, stack on top of each other, and move from one location to another. You can’t stack stemmed glasses (snifters and tulips) in an apple pie order, but seamless glasses (shot glasses and tumblers) can be stacked on top of one another.

Durability of glass

Crystal glasses are more expensive and more delicate. Before spending money, make sure that the glasses you want will last for a while to amuse you. Tempered glasses can heat up and cool down quickly. This factor increases their strength. So, considering durability, choose tempered glass.