Glassware: Does it really matter?


Glasswear. Does it really matter…? Well, YES. And no! There is not one type of glass for enjoying whisky – because we enjoy Scotch many different ways and in many different places. Everything must be evaluated in context.

Glencairn – If I want to nose and taste a new whisky , the Glencairn cannot be beat. It is like the Greek urn of whisky glasses – perfect in form and function. This is a sturdy glass. It funnels aromas perfectly. It has a heavier base so is perfect for whisky tastings rooting the glass to a surface. Easy to wash in a commercial dish washer. My go to glass for whisky working.

Norlan – the shape of this glass is satisfying to hold. But, I don’t like what it looks like. This is why the black ones are such a success – the look cool, and no one can see the faff way they are constructed! It is not very good for nosing, but it offers a different aspect to tasting because it throws the whisky further into our mouth, due to the thicker lip. Our mouth opens wider across and the liquid enters our mouth more like a wide waterfall! This lets us taste differently to the Glencairn. The way we experience the flow of liquid in our body is changed.

Champagne Flute – Perfect when drinking lightly. Good when drinking a whisky one already knows, and you want to have a lunch time refreshment with friends. Adds a touch of glamour and a frisson of opportunity…! Good for drinking whisky at a lunch outside in the garden on a sunny day.

Chrystal Tumbler – Perfect when sitting at night after dinner or around the fire enjoying a peated dram, or an old serious dram. This glass feels good in the hand, allows one to feel smug and that all is well with the world. – You are drinking quality Scotch from a crystal tumbler! – you must be doing something right….

Stemmed Nosing Glass – Depends which one you use. This is a very basic, cheap one. Too small really for anything. However, good stemmed nosing glasses are the bees’ knees. I do not drink at home with friends with any sort of nosing glass – far too much like hard work – tiny wee bit to drink from – nose hits the top of the glass when you have had a few – can’t get the right size of swallow… I always use crystal tumblers or similar when drinking socially.

Horn Glasses & Fancy Long Shot Glasses – Perfect for having a dram around a bonfire. Good size, people can put water in if they prefer. Don’t break when you are transporting stuff to beach for bonfire. Satisfying to hold. Go well with the elemental aspect of outside drinking. Easy to hold when eating and drinking outside. Sturdy, people are not subconsciously worried that they will break.

Ardbeg Drum Glass – Now this is interesting ….. this is a single malt whisky glass DESIGNED to allow/encourage people to use mixers! Oohhh. Horrified connoisseurs’ throw their hands in the air….! Why should we tell people how to drink Scotch? How presumptuous to say that it must be drunk from a certain type of glass, with no mixers and no ice blah, blah, blah…. It is entirely up ourselves, all of us, how we drink Scotch. Pour tea into it – pour Irn Bru into to … we Scots are just pleased you are all drinking it!

Shot Glasses – Great for taking a dram for medicinal purposes or practical purposes – for instance, to warm you up after being out walking the dog on a wild morning. You give this dram to someone who has chopped a pile of logs for you, before they leave. Usually one will be standing when one drinks out of this glass…. No one noses and tastes from a shot glass. It is to drink whisky to act as a reviver.

Stainless Steel Pocket Glasses – Not the best to drink a whisky from, but eminently practical. Good for having a dram when, on the shore of a loch, cooking fish you have just caught . Good for having a quick reviver when climbing a hill and you need a heart starter to keep going. This ‘glass’ is for a quick half to warm you up and assist you in what you are doing outside. This is a glass to put in your pocket to share a dram out your hipflask when you are away from home, achieving something!