It’s a question all whis(e)y drinkers ask at some point — what do I drink this damn stuff out of? With the profusion of glasses and styles to choose from, it’s not always clear cut. Many whiskey aficionados favour the classic Glencairn style, while the media frequently portrays it being sipped out of rocks glasses, and more than one bar opts to serve it in brandy snifters. So which is the best? You can watch the video above, where I taste Alberta Premium Dark Horse rye to find out, or read on.
3rd Place: Rocks glass
While you might feel like you’re in Mad Men sipping from a bulky crystal rocks glass, it’s certainly not the best for a dedicated tasting. The fumes of the alcohol are potent, while the distinct scent notes are not. It almost seems to muffle the smell of the whiskey, which is probably not a good thing if you enjoy what you’re drinking. That said, hefting a heavy, ornate glass and sipping from its broad rim is far from unpleasant. I’d save this glass for cheap whiskey, or old favourites you’re very familiar with.
2nd Place: Glencairn (Mine is a stemmed version of the Glencairn-style of whisky glass)
There’s a reason this is the preferred glass of many scotch tasters. The tapered glass concentrates the scent into a powerful bouquet, and is spite of the potent alcohol fumes, it’s perfect for picking out individual notes. My only complaint is the small brim isn’t as nice to sip from, but as long as you’re not sessioning whiskey, a Glencairn might be the perfect glass to taste from.
1st Place: Snifter
It’s truly a best of both world’s scenario — the wide bowl and tapered brim serve to really concentrate the nose of the whiskey, while the breadths of the glass seem to soften the fumes a bit. Additionally, the wider crystal brim is luxurious to sip from, and there’s nothing quite like the feel of holding a snifter in your hand. All in all, for form and function I prefer the snifter. Not just for brandy, apparently.