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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Selecting a whisky glass

Last week we gave you some simple tips on how to improve your whisky tasting experience. One of the points we made was about using the correct glassware. Let's have a look at the basic whisky glass types, their pros, cons and recommended uses.

1. Tumbler. A classic tumbler is perhaps the most popular type of glass for drinking whisky. When you order a dram at a bar, that's the glass which is most likely to be put in front of you. What's more, many whisky drinkers chose to use tumblers at home. A heavy-based crystal tumbler looks great and sits comfortably in the hand. Unfortunately, it isn't any good for nosing. Tumbler's wide rim and straight walls mean most of the aroma escapes the glass and your nose can only pick up a faint whiff of what your whisky actually smells like. While tumblers are great for relaxing after a long day or for entertaining, if you want to fully appreciate Black Dog, we'd recommend something a bit different.

2. Snifter. A tulip-shaped snifter on a short stem is another classic whisky glass. You may not have seen them behind bars but no distillery or blending lab is complete without them. They are professionals' choice and if you want to take your whisky very seriously, perhaps you should consider investing in a set. These days crystal glassware manufacturers such as Willeroy&Boch or Spiegelau have their own whisky snifter shapes on offer so even the most demanding nose will find the right glass. But while a snifter is the best tool for nosing, it's notoriously difficult to drink from and takes a bit of practice to master. If you don't like to spill your whisky down the front of your shirt, you may want to consider something different still...

3. Glencairn. Glencairn Crystal is a Scottish company producing what is now widely considered to be the official single malt whisky glass. It combines the tulip-like shape of a snifter with straighter walls towards the top of the glass and a rim wide enough to comfortably drink from. This is a great choice, no matter how experienced you are.

4. Quaich. If you've ever tried drinking whisky from a quaich, you know it's purely for ceremonial purposes. They look great but are about as practical as chocolate teacups.

We hope this helps you decide which glass to use next time you fancy a dram of Black Dog
. But please don't take it too seriously, we certainly don't. If your favourite bar doesn't have your preferred fancy German snifter, or indeed any good whisky glass at all, you can simply ask them to serve your dram in a small brandy balloon or a port glass.

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