Which glass for whisk(e)y? A tasting with Glencairn glassware.

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.

L:R Glencairn Original, Mini, Cut-crystal & Copita

L:R Glencairn Original, Mini, Cut-crystal & Copita

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.

In Conclusion

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.

The full range of Glencairn glassware is available on Amazon and at a variety of other shops (see the official website for a map).

This entry was posted in Vintage Cocktails and tagged , , , , , , by DTS. Bookmark the permalink.

About DTS

partial to a martini? to a smoke-hazed gin joint & a perfect tipple poured with the style, swank & skill of a true aficionado? …then pull up your stool to the bar, prepare to stock up your cocktail cabinet & get ready to drink it all in as we introduce you to a stitch in times’ resident barman… David T. Smith is a drinks enthusiast currently residing in the U.K. a long-time fan of tasting & exploring various types of alcohol, he has a fascination for vintage spirits and cocktails, in particular their heritage & origins; this was strengthened last year when he presented a talk and accompanying monograph on the Martini. it was as a result of his research of this topic that he was introduced to drinks paraphernalia, & he is now the happy owner of a colourful collection of bottles, books, and gadgets from a wide range of eras… an avid believer in the validity and variety of personal opinion, particularly in the subjective area of tasting, he enjoys hosting tasting sessions for friends, constantly challenging them to find their own favourite tipple. in addition to all of this, he is also interested in economics, three-piece suits, board games & keeping alive the art of engaging in enjoyable conversation with a good glass of port whilst surrounded by pipe smoke… www.summerfruitcup.com Thanks to Analiebe for writing this rather flattering blurb for me.

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