I love whiskey. I always have. In fact, I suppose I’m more obsessed with whiskey then Vim could ever be about wine. And it’s not just different types of whiskies. I love all the trinkets, accessories & glassware that go with it. I must have the best whiskey glasses always and I must stock an array of whiskey. Not just scotch, but more recently a large amount of Japanese whiskey. Having worked in the whiskey trade for a number of years, it became more than a passion.
And yet, somehow, whilst taking it all in, I managed to stay less serious about it all. Living in HK, we’ve always added our own twist to things. Let me give you an example, as an expat living here, I was shocked when I saw people put ice into high end clarets and / or mixing it with coke.
Now this isn’t a myth – this really happens. But after a while I went from judging them to trying it. It wasn’t for me, but it didn’t taste bad. Or as bad as I thought it would. I would also explore differing whiskey drinks & mixers. I wasn’t hell bent on drinking my scotch neat, or only mixing it with a teaspoon of water or a quarter of a cube of ice or whatever – I would go for whatever I fancied at that time.
That said, when it came to my whiskey glassware, and trinkets, like my newly purchased whiskey stones, there was no compromising. I wasn’t so flexible on that.
No surprise I guess that when Vim wanted a piece about whiskey glasses – he knew whom to turn to. And before you judge me, know that all the 12×75 team are as obsessed with wine glassware than I am with whiskey glasses.
How To Choose The Best Whiskey Glasses For You
To assume there’s anything as the best whiskey glasses, you’d be mistaken. It’s physically not possible. Whilst there are differing types of glances, some made for better nosing the whiskey, others for tasting, others for having a cocktail, others for having it neat and on and on it goes. But I suppose the question is why are you looking for whiskey glasses to begin with. Is it because you love whiskey as I do or because you entertain a lot (as I do)?
Once you’ve figured out your reason, then it’s all very simple stuff.
Types of Whiskey Glasses
Old Fashioned Glass / Rocks Glass
These are the types of glasses that most people think of when you say whiskey glasses. This type of whiskey glassware is so popular and without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favorite types of glass. These short, wide brimmed, thick based bottom glasses are actually magic. What’s so wonderful about them is that they’re incredibly versatile. You can use them for so many types of whiskey drinks. The reason I love these glasses is because if I’d like a scotch neat, or an old fashioned, or on the rocks (or my beloved whiskey stones) – you can’t go wrong with these. And let’s just assume you’ve seen Cocktail with Tom Cruise (yes, I’m that old) – and for some reason – you’ve convinced yourself that you’ve become a master mixologist – well given the thick base, you can mix and crush and splice all your ingredients straight in the glass.
Snifter Glasses / Dock Glasses
These glasses are truly a whiskey taster’s glass. The shape of the glass allows for you to nose the whiskey, see and taste the whiskey. It’s long stem allows for the taster to hold the snifter glass in such a way that any smells on the hand don’t contaminate with the aromas of the whiskey. Now I don’t want you thinking that you necessarily have to hold these glasses as you would one of your favorite red wine glasses. No, no, no. In order to really get those aromas going, you want the whiskey to warm up and start to evaporate. This really gets the aromas going, and what’s so great about these glasses is that you can cup the glasses and warm up the whiskey with ease and speed. Great glasses for tasting, not so sure about every day use because they’re designed and made to suit drinking whiskey neat.
The Highball Glass
These glasses are hilariously quite the contrary to snifter glasses. And that’s because unlike a snifter glass, a highball glass has been designed to drink a whiskey cocktail (generally with lots of ice). A highball glass is a long glass and much like a rocks glass has a very thick base. And no that’s not for slamming the drink down after you’ve finished your whiskey cocktail – but more so if you still thought you were Tom Cruise and were attempting to muddle a melange of ingredients straight into the glass. The reason I love these glasses is because I can take my time. You often see them in bars and restaurants and these types of glasses almost scream
Don’t Rush – Take Your Time
These wonderful well balanced glasses are simply great if you know you’re never going to be drinking your whiskey neat.
The Shot Glass / The Slammer Glass
Well I’m not entirely sure that this glass needs much introduction. Otherwise known as a shooter glass, this glass is perfect for getting in the mood and slamming the whiskey down your throat. Do I advise this? No. Not at all. But I was asked to talk about all the whiskey glasses available, and I suppose just by virtue of that, this glass would have to make up part of this guide.
The Glencairn Glass
Well, here’s where we start to get really geeky. There’s not a place in Scotland where you’d go and see these glasses. Whilst you would be correct in thinking these glasses look and act similarly to a snifter glass, there are actually quite different. Firstly these glasses make up the whiskey loving community in Scotland and that’s because they were designed there. The MD of the Glencairn Crystal Ltd design this glass with the help of a number of master blenders. Upon complete satisfaction, the company went on to launch the production of this glass in 2001. And the success of this whiskey glass went on to to earn the company the prestigious Queen’s Award For Innovation in 2006.
Below are a few reviews on some of my favorite whiskey glasses. As I said, they all serve a purpose and my hope is that this guide serves a good way for you to learn more about each of the glasses, save money and save time.
Taylor’d Milestones Whiskey Glass – Best Old Fashioned Glass
These USA made glasses are the perfect old fashioned glass. They come in a pair and hold 10 oz of liquid. These whiskey glasses are really sturdy. In fact they’re so sturdy that they’re advertised as scratch and chip resistant, but more importantly, they can be thrown into the dishwasher. No wasting time hand washing these bad boys.
These glasses not only look the part, but they feel very sturdy. They’re nice to hold and wonderful to drink from. Without even thinking twice these are the most versatile whiskey glasses that I have. I have an array of friends and whilst they may all like whiskey, they don’t all like whiskey served the same way. Some of them like having an old fashioned, whilst others enjoy their scotch on the rocks. Well the beauty about these glasses is, they fit all types of drinks (and saves me serving everyone their favorite whiskey drink in a specific glass).Available On Amazon
Venero Whiskey Glasses – Best Rocks Glass
These whiskey tumblers are very similar to the old fashioned glasses above. However they are better value for money because instead of coming in a pair, they come as a set of 4. So make sure you have at least 3 other friends to drink with. These glasses are very thick and are less likely to break if dropped. Its thick base is perfect for muddling your array of ingredients and the glass feels very good in your hand.
Not only did I find these glass stylish, but I did notice that they were made with the highest quality crystal. And you could really tell. Use them a few times, put them in the dishwasher a few times and they’d still come out gleaming.
And best of all with these glasses, given their great packaging, given they come in a set of 4, given that they are excellent whiskey glasses made from good quality crystal – they lend themselves to being excellent gifts to all whiskey lovers.Available On Amazon
Luigi Bormioli Vinoteque Snifter Glass – Best Snifter Glass
So don’t let people fool you into thinking these types of glasses are just used by whiskey experts. You don’t have to be an expert to use these glasses. In fact these are one of the best glasses on the market right now if you were looking to learn more about whiskey. Their long stem, shape of the bulb and small rim really allow for the aromas and taste to hit its peak. And given the long stem, it’s actually very easy to cup these glasses and warm up your whiskey.
Personally, I use these as my special occasion glasses. And for drinking scotch with fellow whiskey lovers.Available On Amazon
Paksh Novelty Italian Highball Glasses – Best Highball Glasses
You’d think picking the perfect highball glass would actually be quite easy. Surprisingly I found this the hardest glass to pick from. I must have ordered at least 7 different sets of glasses and most of them were rubbish. I finally found the Paksh Novelty Highball Glasses as my favorite.
These lightweight glasses are Italian made and very much look European. They work well in both relaxed and formal settings and despite being very light, they’re actually very sturdy. Another reason I love these is that the circumference of the glass isn’t massive but still easily holds 13 oz and is comfortable to grip.
I absolutely love these glasses and so will you.
Glencairn Whiskey Glass – Best Glencairn Glasses
For the purists, these are the best whiskey glasses on the market. Made by Glencairn, for all people in Scotland, these are the official whiskey tasting glass. Having one the Queens Award for Innovation in 2006, Glencairn Glasses started to appear more and more in restaurants and bars internationally.
These glasses have a full bowl that tapers neatly and elegantly to the rim allowing for the full aromas and taste to be at its optimum. Like the snifter glasses, these glasses are mostly tailored to drink whiskey neat. Which means if drinking whiskey neat isn’t your thing, I’d give these glasses a pass.
That said, if you are on a journey, a journey to discover more about your whiskey, more about your palate – then I don’t think I could recommend these glasses enough.
JoyJolt Shot Glass – Best Shot Glasses For Whiskey
Now whilst I don’t advise drinking whiskey from shot glasses, I of course had to do it for the sake of this article. It was actually a lot of fun but not something I would continue doing. I did try a few shot glasses. I actually thought that any old ones would do. But no. I was wrong. Even when it comes to having the right shot glasses, everything makes a difference, from its weight, its look, etc….
You’ve got to know what you like in your whiskey based drinks. Once you know that, simply just match your desired palate to the glass that best works for that drink, and you’ll never look back. The right glassware for your drink makes all the difference, be it for wine or even gin (check out our guide to gin glasses here) – the right glass is the difference that makes the difference.