After trying 3 scotches from a flask and a shot glass, there were 3 glasses that were most familiar to me for scotch drinking: the Tumbler, the Wine Glass and the Glencairn Glass. I feel that all 3 of these are acceptable scotch glasses. The tumbler probably carries the least pretense; you’re not very likely to be served scotch in crystal glassware at a restaurant. My question is, is there a better glass for drinking scotch?
The tumbler feels the best of these three in my hand. It’s easy to see the scotch and to get a nice gentle swirl. Years of drinking scotch from this glass makes it feel very natural, similar to holding a cigar between two fingers. The first thing i notice about the nose is a slight presence of soap. This is the frustrating part of drinking from soap washed dishes – no matter how well rinsed, the soap residue mixes into the scotch and kills aromas that are already not being concentrated by the open shape of the glass. The aromas that do dominate are the grainy, smoky and chemical aromas. Tasting from the tumbler isn’t ideal because the lip of the class has a rounded edge that seems to cause the scotch to kind of dribble over the side of the glass. Overall, a functional glass that will remain a workhorse for scotch served outside my home.
The Wine Glass
For this test I used Riedel’s Ouverture Red Wine glass. This is my go to glass for almost all types of wine, white and red. It is a little small for really full blown overoaked red wines but great for everything else. It makes wine taste better. How? The bulb shape focuses aromas as they rise giving a stronger impression. The crystal material is porous which agitates even more aroma as you swirl the glass. I noticed this affect right away on the fruity, floral and spicy aspects of the aroma, as well as in the extra alcohol rising to my nose. In fact I found it to be a bit much for really enjoying the scotch. I discovered new aspects of the three familiar scotches by drinking them from this glass. The heathery scents of Scapa 14 stuck out like a sore thumb. But my nose got overwhelmed and soon tired. The cut rim of the glass also works wonders, spreading the scotch to every corner of your mouth and giving a rich, full feeling. A good glass for finding new joys from scotch in small doses.
The Glencairn Glass
Rounding up this group is the newest glass on my shelf, the Glencairn (see picture). This crystal glass has a reputation among whisky drinkers as the staple for scotch enjoyment, and as I found out it’s not just because of tradition. My glass was bought from whiskyglass.ca, and arrived promptly and well packed. You can also purchase them on Amazon. The glass feels a little weird in my hand, bacause holding it is not intuitive. Do you hold it by the bowl or by the base? This is one of the joys of the Glencairn – the user has extra control of the temperature of the fluid by adjusting how they hold the glass. The aromas and flavours of my favorite scotch seemed to sing from the Glencairn. Interestingly, the glass highlighted the opposite aromas from the other two glasses: the earthy, woody, caramel and nutty. The alcohol never rises too fast to sting my nostrils from this glass, rather it controls a perfect stream of scents to my nose. The cut rim has a similar effect to the Riedel and allows a full taste experience. This is an elegant and brilliant device for drinking scotch, and is not that expensive. Go get some of these glasses, you’ll never go back once you start using the Glencairn.
Also check out a newcomer to the Scotch Glass Scene: The NEAT glass