These bespoke whisky and gin glasses bring spirits to life

By James Atkinson, August 22 2018
These bespoke whisky and gin glasses bring spirits to life

Want to increase your enjoyment of whisky and gin? Try pouring it into a glass that's been specifically designed to concentrate its aroma and flavour.

The gold standard is Glencairn's whisky glass, released in 2001 after creator Raymond Davidson famously bemoaned the lack of glassware suitable for nosing and appreciating a fine dram.

"Champagne, brandy, wine... each has its own glass," his company Glencairn Crystal proclaimed. "Yet whisky, the world's most complex spirit can be found served in anything from highball tumblers to Paris goblets."

Today there are more than three million Glencairn glasses sold annually, but it has increasing company from young upstart manufacturers for whom aesthetic is just as important as expressing the character of the spirit.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In my opinion, presenting a spirit or cocktail in a vessel that looks fantastic and feels great in your hand is a vital element of the ritual.

Here are some of the best glasses on the market to enhance your enjoyment of fine spirits.

Glencairn Whisky Glass

Developed with the aid of master blenders from five of Scotland's largest distillers, the Glencairn was largely designed with practical considerations in mind.

The tapered mouth is designed for optimal nosing, focusing the whisky's delicate aromatics and bringing all its nuances to the fore. The first whisky glass to be endorsed by the Scotch Whisky Association, it remains in use by every one of Scotland's whisky distilleries today, with Glencairn also branching out into classy Cut Crystal and even specialist Canadian Whisky glasses. Price: from $9.90 per glass

Norlan Whisky Glass

According to its creators, the Norlan glass combines design, science and ritual for the perfect whisky drinking experience.

After a successful crowdfunding campaign got it off the ground in 2015, manufacturing has been ramped up and the glass is now available around the world. Internal 'fins' within the Norlan's unique double-walled structure help expose more of the liquid to the air when the vessel is swirled, elevating the whisky's aromatics. Price: $66 for two glasses.

Spiegelau Gin & Tonic Glass

Australians are in the midst of a love affair with gin & tonic, so the recent launch of Spiegelau's dedicated G&T glasses could not have been better timed.

Made from sparkling fine crystal, the large bowl design provides extra room for ice cubes and garnishes. The stem keeps your hand away from the liquid, maintaining a for an optimal sensory experience. They will also be suitable for spritzes and other summery cocktails. Price: $79.95 for four glasses.

Denver & Liely Bourbon Glass

After an in-depth research trip to Kentucky and Tennessee, Melburnians Denver Cramer and Liely Faulkner began the development of this dedicated whiskey glass.

The opening to base proportion is less than that of the whisky glass, providing a bolder body and smoother bourbon focused experience. The larger opening enhances the sweeter nature of bourbon's corn majority mash bill and will easily accommodate a chunk of quality ice. Price: $60 per glass.

NEAT Spirits Glass

Using 'Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology' (yes - NEAT!), the neck of the glass intensifies the aromas of whisky, gin, rum, cognac or any other spirits.

The flares spread the alcohol molecules, separating essences from ethanol. It also aim to provide a more thorough tasting experience by pouring the liquid all over your palate, as opposed to only in the centre of your taste buds like other conventional glassware. Price: $23 per glass.

James Atkinson

James is a journalist whose career took a turn for the better when he began specialising in what he enjoys most: Travel, food and drink. Whether at home in Sydney or on the road, he's especially diligent at roadtesting bars and restaurants and hunting down some special bottles to bring home.


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

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The Glencairn looks like a Thistle, nice glass.

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