Whether it’s different types of wine, beer or a classic cocktail, there is a style and shape of glass for everything.
For years, however, when drinking whiskey you either shot it or drank it from an old fashioned or rocks glass. Of course, that all changed several years ago when the Glencairn Glass was introduced. Originally designed for single malt Scotch, it seems every whiskey distiller, regardless of style, has come to embrace this one glass for tasting and enjoying whiskey neat.
But old habits die hard, and I was one of the many who questioned whether the shape of the glass could really affect the smell, taste and enjoyment of whiskey. Leave it to a friend of mine to introduce me to the ways of the Glencairn.
My friend had me do a side by side comparison of the same whiskey: a shot in a traditional old fashioned glass and a shot in a Glencairn Glass. The differences were astonishing.
However, we were using George T. Stagg as our test whiskey and we wondered if the results would be the same using a less intense, everyday bourbon like Wild Turkey 101. Let’s check it out.
- Nose: strong, boozy; hint of toffee
- First Sip: heat up front, followed by vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon, with a bit of rye spice
- Finish: the flavors fade quickly, but the burn lasts a bit longer
- Nose: lots of caramelized sugar and toffee, but no boozy smell like in the old fashioned glass
- First Sip: very little heat; viscous sugar with a bit of rye spiciness
- Finish: long; the flavors stick around this time, complementing the burn
The conclusion is fairly obvious. After comparing the 2 glasses the Glencairn Glass actually enhances the aromas and flavors of whiskey. This doesn’t mean I won’t drink from other glasses in the future, but if I have my choice, it’ll be a Glencairn Glass from now on.
Do you think using a Glencairn glass makes a difference? Let me know in the comments what you think.
And hey, if you don’t own a Glencairn glass yet, I suggest you check out some of our very own custom designs made for just for the bourbon drinker.