When enjoying whisky, obviously the spirit itself is of utmost importance, but consideration also needs to be given to the glass from which you enjoy it. There are a great plethora of glasses produced across the world that are designed to increase the appreciation of fine spirits.
Glencairn, a Scottish glassware company based in East Kilbride, Scotland, has a range of different glasses and, after recently picking up one of their stemmed copita glasses at the Cotswolds Distillery, I decided to take a closer look at their range and see how different shapes and styles can impact upon the drinking experience.
I tested all of these glasses out with Old Scout Straight Bourbon from Smooth Ambler Spirits, based in West Virginia.
The original Glencairn Glass
Height (full): 115mm, Height (stem): 20mm, Width (widest point): 65mm, Width (opening): 42mm
This glass, designed specifically for the appreciation of whisky, is most likely familiar to anyone who has been to a whisky distillery, shop, or bar.
- It sits neatly in the hand and is easy and comfortable to sip from.
- Doesn’t feel fragile.
- The wider bowl also allows for a good view of the spirit and its colour.
- The nose was full-bodied and extensive.
The miniature Glencairn Glass (sometimes referred to as the “Perfect Dram” glass)
Height (full): 86mm, Height (stem): 17mm, Width (widest point): 48mm, Width (opening): 31mm
This is a smaller version of the normal Glencairn glass. Although I can’t find it on their website, they are available on Amazon and, like the original, some companies are selling branded versions (we picked one up at the Cotswolds Distillery recently).
- I find this lighter glass easier to hold, although some may find it too small.
- The smaller volume means that you can have more glasses of different whiskies, rather than one larger pour.
- In my direct comparison of the glasses, I found that the sweeter, fruity notes came through more vividly using this one than the others.
Cut Crystal Glencairn Glass
Height (full): 115mm, Height (stem): 20mm, Width (widest point): 62mm, Width (opening): 42mm
The Cut Crystal Glencairn is similar in size and design to the original, but is mouth blown and hand cut.
- Beautiful to look at; this would make a lovely gift.
- It is much heavier than the others, especially the base, but does feel a tad more fragile.
- The “lip” of the glass is thinner, which I found less comfortable to drink from.
- Both the nose and the palate seemed more spirituous from this glass.
Glencairn Copita Glass
Height (full): 148mm, Height (stem): 62mm, Width (widest point): 60mm, Width (opening): 40mm
Finally, we have the Copita glass, which the website notes is used for sensory analysis by blenders and distillers.
- Excellent for exploring the nose and colour of whiskies.
- Good if you prefer a stemmed glass (or are concerned about warming your spirit when you hold it).
- Has a thin “lip”, but feels balanced and substantial compared to other stemmed glasses.
There’s a glass here for every occasion and customer. If you’re after a detailed sensory analysis, try the Copita glass; if you want a good, solid glass that’s nonetheless great for exploring whisky, try the original or miniature Glencairn glass; and if you want to try something a little bit different and special, try the Cut Crystal Glencairn.
My personal favourite is still the miniature Glencairn, but I was impressed by the Copita Glass and would definitely use it again, especially when I have a whisky that I want to explore over a good period of time.