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Whisky glasses are a contentious aspect of the whisky industry because everyone has a favourite and admittedly I’ve never really had a particular preference. More and more often, I’ll visit festivals where aficionados have taken their own glasses and despite some appearing more cumbersome the aficionado will be undeterred!
The majority of whisky festivals provide the standard Glencairn glass which is practical and strong; It has a tulip shape which is good for getting aromas and the ball shape allows you to heat the glass up in your hand, it’s also very sturdy and it won’t spill when it falls over due to the shape of the glass. I have about a dozen of these in the house and it has now reached a point where I can no longer justify taking the glass home.
What I’ve seen become more popular is the micro Glencairn glasses. These cute little glasses are the same as standard Glencairn but smaller and so contain less whisky but they are hardier which is probably why I’ve seen them at more outdoor festivals.At the Fife whisky festival, I was given an unusual glass called the neat glass. At first, the neat glass was recognizable because it was hard to drink from but to nose whisky with, I thought it was terrific! I’ve been using it to do my tasting notes for my recent releases and it really opens up the dram to pick out specific notes. However, it is not something I would take to a whisky festival as I still find it hard to drink from and I would look like a dribbling idiot. Apparently, the shape of the glass diffuses the alcohol fumes so that the natural aromas are more detectable.
More common in tastings, where people are sitting down and where there is less of the rambunctious festival atmosphere are the delicate copita glasses. Copita glasses are elegant glasses with a stem and tulip bowl, similar to a small wine glass.
Fundamentally, a tulip shape bowl is highly desirable as this allows the liquid to be swirled about, making it ideal for nosing. Where a stem is not present the glass can benefit from being warmed in the hand which allows the aromas to be more detectable. If you're keen to start drinking from a new glass, we have some great Glencairn glasses available to buy in our shop.