Scotch Glasses to Pair with Your Taster's Club Scotch of the Month
Whether you’re a Scotch connoisseur or are just getting your feet wet in the whole experience, you might need a hand when it comes to buying Scotch glasses. Learn about the whole point of using a glass dedicated to the classic spirit and read up on the different types of Scotch glasses out there and how you should go about choosing the best set for yourself. Finally, we’ve listed some solid picks for your next purchase.
What’s So Special About a Scotch Glass?
When you enjoy Scotch, you’re using all of your senses: smell, to take in the aroma, sight, to see the spirit’s color, taste, to enjoy every flavor the distiller intended to create, and touch, to feel how the drink lingers on your tongue and makes its way down your throat to warm your belly.
To experience all of this as intended, your choice of Scotch glass will absolutely make a difference. You’ll want a glass that will concentrate the vapors from the drink to let you “nose” the Scotch because when you experience flavors, like those from the Taster's Club pick Murray & McDavid Ordha Meas 13 Year Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, they actually come from both taste and smell. And especially for complex flavors, like those found in Scotch, smell is that much more important to your entire experience.
Scotch Glasses Buying Guide
There are a number of Scotch or whiskey glasses out there, each serving its own unique purpose. And since we like to send out different types of Scotch, we've created this buying guide with the best types of glasses to use when it's time to enjoy your next Taster's Club bottle.
The medium-weight snifter Scotch glass sits on a short stem and has ballooned sides and a narrow top and wider bottom. This glass is perfect if you’re looking to slowly savor and taste all the nuances of your favorite top-shelf Scotch or a variety of different pours, neat. Try our past feature Springbank 9 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky and you'll see the difference a snifter can make.
Similar in appearance to the snifter, the lightweight tulip Scotch glass’ taller stem keeps the oils from your skin from touching the glass rim to keep that Scotch purer. They typically hold just 1-2 ounces and are perfect for a lighter, pre-dinner drink served neat. A tulip glass is perfect for trying a little The Maltman Arran 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, one of the club's picks.
The lightweight Glencairn is the most popular glass for tasting Scotch neat. Designed by Raymond Davidson of Glencairn Crystal in Scotland, this glass came about from the whiskey lab glasses throughout the world and was the first glass endorsed by the Scotch Whisky Association.
As a thicker Scotch glass with a wide base and wider tulip shape that enhances aromas, the Glencairn is ideal for swirling and sniffing the liquid to truly appreciate all the notes within it. Just like other Scotch glasses intended for neat pours, the Glencairn keeps the Scotch’s harsh aromas away from your nose and lets them escape through the opening instead. Give our past feature, Gordon & MacPhail Old Pulteney 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, a try in a Glencairn to truly appreciate its full character.
TUMBLER, ROCKS OR OLD FASHIONED
The versatile, heavy-weight tumbler, also known as a rocks or old fashioned glass, is fairly common and recognizable in good bars around the world. These Scotch glasses have a solid base, straight sides, and a wide brim that makes it easy to mix ingredients or add ice or whiskey stones.
Usually holding 7-12 ounces, this glass is a standard go-to for any type of Scotch drink – neat, on the rocks, or in mixed drinks. Our Single Cask Nation Cameronbridge 26 Year Old Single Grain Scotch Whisky pick is a perfect example. While the tumbler brings out a lot from the spirit, which is a great way to experience all of its flavors, some can come on too strong while others get downplayed, to the point you’ll even get a hint of alcohol fumes. For this reason, some people prefer to reserve the tumbler strictly for mixed Scotch drinks.
Highball glasses are a heavier weight, tall with straight sides, and intended for Scotch cocktails served over ice. They hold 8-12 ounces and feature a wider opening to taste many flavors, along with a thick base that makes them sturdy.
What to Consider When Buying Scotch Glasses for Your Taster's Club Scotches
There are many things to consider when choosing the best Scotch glasses to use with your Scotch picks of the month. While it ultimately comes down to personal preference, be sure to keep these things in mind when shopping around.
No matter which type of Scotch glass you choose, you’ll need ample space for the liquid to breathe so you can sniff and taste it as the distiller intended. You want enough room for movement but not in something too deep that traps the vapors and flavors. This means the shape of the mouth and size and shape of the bottom are important to factor into your decision.
TEXTURE AND SHAPE
Any Scotch glass should feel good, meaning it has a solid grip and weight along with an intentional design. For example, a tulip glass or snifter features very thin and curved glass that lets you get the most out of a Scotch’s scent when you smell it. Plus, the narrow curled or rounded mouth lets the liquid flow at the right pace when you taste it. Likewise, a wider opening on a tumbler is suitable for cocktails or highballs.
This one’s a no-brainer, and very subjective. Just as with anything else in your kitchen you put your hard-earned cash into, you should like how your Scotch glasses look. Plus, a good-looking glass will highlight the drink’s appearance and presentation. Aside from persona preference though, many people find their Scotch experience is heightened with plainer glasses that let them see the liquid clearly, without any reflection or obstruction.
As with many quality purchases you’ll make throughout your life, price is often a consideration. And depending on the number of Scotch glasses you’re looking for, you could easily pay a pretty penny when all is said and done. The most expensive material is handblown crystal, followed by machine-blown crystal, and then molded glass.
DURABILITY AND PRACTICALITY
It’s easy to get swept up in the romance of a full-blown Scotch experience, and it’s tempting to veer toward a “classic” Scotch glass for that authenticity. Just keep in mind that many thin-walled crystal glasses might be functional and attractive, but they can also be quite fragile. So, if you or your drinking companions tend to be slightly accident-prone, consider something with heat tempering.
As well, depending on your kitchen setup, size, and storage capacity, you might benefit from dishwasher safe glasses that can neatly stack in a cupboard. By compromising a bit on design, you’ll conveniently save space and time when it comes to clean-up.
The Best Scotch Glasses for Taster's Club Scotches
Any and all of these Scotch glasses will pair perfectly with the right Taster's Club scotch of the month.
PRISM FACETED TUMBLERS
If you’re looking for a solid tumbler and you like a modern esthetic, check out this beautiful set of two faceted glasses from HomeWetBar.com. Each glass holds up to 11 ounces, is made from lead-free crystal, and features a round base, making it ideal for sipping.
GLENCAIRN CRYSTAL GLASS
For the pure Scotch aficionado, you can’t go wrong with the original and award-winning Glencairn Crystal Glencairn glass with its wide crystal bowl, ideal for fully appreciating Scotch’s color, aroma and flavor. Comes with or without engraving.
RIEDEL DRINK SPECIFIC ROCKS GLASS
Versatile for a Scotch on the rocks or mixed drink, this 10-ounce Riedel glass comes in a package of two and is specifically sized for large ice cubes, so your drink won’t dilute too quickly. They’re dishwasher safe, too, so you don’t have to compromise design for function.
VENERO TWISTED WHISKEY TUMBLER
Another versatile option, these stylish, 10-ounce crystal Venero tumblers are durable and thick with a heavy base, making them well insulated and a solid choice for however you fancy your Scotch. They’re also dishwasher safe and covered by a lifetime warranty.
NUDE BEAK GLASS
The handmade NUDE Beak Glass offers you the benefits of a traditional snifter with an award-winning contemporary, modern design and angular silhouette. Made with lead-free crystal, the set of two three-ounce glasses come in three color choices.
RIEDEL PERFORMANCE GLASS
With its elegant Performance tulip glass, Riedel created the very first to feature a light optic impact on the bowl, making it not only visually appealing but also bigger in inner surface area so that every aroma and tasting note shines through. The tulip shape will bring out every complexity of your favorite Scotches and enhance your overall experience.
Scotch Glasses FAQs
WHY SHOULD I BUY SCOTCH GLASSES?
A glass meant for Scotch allows you to enjoy the drink as intended – with your senses of smell, sight, taste, and touch. The right shape and size of glass will concentrate alcohol vapors and aroma notes so you can properly smell the spirit, then taste each note to fully enjoy and experience more complex flavors.
WHAT DOES EACH TYPE OF SCOTCH GLASS DO?
The snifter is great for neat Scotch pours, with its short stem, ballooned sides, narrow top, and wide base. Similarly, the tulip functions the same but is great for smaller quantities. But the most popular neat Scotch glass, the Glencairn, is the best to capture the unique aromas of each spirit.
A rocks glass or tumbler is great for a cocktail but is also common for on the rocks or neat Scotch. Finally, if you’re just getting acclimated to Scotch, try a highball in the tall glass with the same name for an easy introduction.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN CHOOSING SCOTCH GLASSES?
Like most anything else, your choice of Scotch glasses will be a matter of personal preference. However, you’ll want to consider the glasses’:
- Shape, size and weight,
- Durability, and
Each factor will matter more or less to each buyer, depending on things like their own priorities, circumstances, storage space, and intended use.