Each whisky is an invitation to discover a multitude of flavours, aromas, colours and textures and, like any artistic expression, how we choose to enjoy it often symbolises our own personal journey.
So, whether you are on a sensory expedition to unlock the full flavour potential and intensify aromas, or simply want to add plenty of ice to keep your drink cool for longer, the whisky glass you choose has an impact on the drinking experience you enjoy.
By choosing the correct glass for a particular type of whisky or whisky serve, you can enhance the overall experience. That is why our guide to whisky glasses is here to help you understand the merits of each style, and help you to find your perfect glass.
FOR SENSORY APPRECIATION
Also known as a tulip glass, the Copita is based on traditional glassware used in Spain to sample sherry. Translating to ‘little glass’ in Spanish, this is a popular choice for distillers, blenders and whisky connoisseurs alike. Its long stem prevents the drinker’s hand (and their natural oils) from coming into close contact with the rim, allowing the nose to come closer to the spirit without tainting the smell of the liquid.
The tulip shape and narrow rim allow the scent and aroma of the spirit to flourish with minimal outside influence. Used in blending rooms around the world, it is designed for the sensory appreciation of single malt whisky, providing a pure experience.
FOR THE SOCIAL OCCASIONS
One of the most recognised glass types, the Glencairn whisky glass shares similar traits to the Copita glass. Tulip-shaped, but providing a more solid base without the stem, its thicker vessel means it's more suited to sociable drinking events.
Being bigger in size also makes the Glencairn perfect to swirl whisky in. The swirling of liquid encourages the aromas to open up, inviting the drinker to embrace its flavour profile on the nose. It is another glass designed perfectly for the appreciation of single malt whisky.
FOR NEAT SPIRITS OVER ICE
The most famous of the whisky glass family, the tumbler boasts a sleek and elegant appearance. Dating back to the 16th century, wealthy individuals would use this glass type as a status symbol by engraving their family crest onto the glass. Fast forward to today, the whisky tumbler still represents refinement and sophistication.
Unlike the previously mentioned glasses, it was not created specifically for nosing. Also referred to as the rocks glass, the old-fashioned glass or the ‘lowball’, the intentionally wide rim makes it easy to fill with ice – an ideal choice for enjoying a whisky on the rocks or serving a whisky cocktail. A robust base and thicker cut ensure ingredients can be mixed comfortably in the glass.
FOR AN ICONIC WHISKY COCKTAIL
A close relative to the tumbler, the highball glass is also designed with a specific focus away from nosing. With its name alone, we can conclude quickly where its focus lies – the Whisky Highball cocktail.
As far as the cocktail itself goes, it doesn’t get simpler; whisky and plenty of ice topped with carbonated water. Ginger ale, or ginger beer, are other popular sparkling mixers that can be used for a highball.
The design of this vessel allows for these elements to prosper together. The fizz of the soda draws out the complexity of the flavours in the spirit and the tiny, neutralising bubbles are preserved perfectly in a tall, narrow glass.
FOR THE CLASSIC IMBIBER
With a narrow top and wide bottom, the Snifter’s design is in keeping with its deep imbibing roots. Commonly used for cognac and brandy, this type of glassware was commonly seen in gentlemen’s clubs - where a cigar was never far away.Fast forward to the modern era and this whisky glass has evolved into a creditable vessel with a wide body that helps to stop the liquid spilling out when tilted.
A relatively new addition to the whisky glass line-up, the inception of the NEAT glass is as unusual as its shape. Standing for Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology, this vessel was created accidentally by George Manska during a glass blowing session.
When sampling whiskies later, he found its design was perfectly suited for directing the smell of strong alcohol vapours away from the nose. With the lighter ethanol molecules taken away, more enticing and flavourful scents from the whisky are left behind.
Due to its atypical shape and ability to open up flavours, we would recommend this glass to anyone new to exploring the world of whisky.
Enjoy as you please
Just as an artist’s painting demands a beautiful frame, we believe your whisky deserves a great glass.
There are a variety of glasses out there, each showcasing an intricate design and shape to change, heighten, and boost your enjoyment but, ultimately, the whisky glass you choose to drink your spirit from is a matter of personal preference.
Choose your favourite glassView our glassware
Take a tour
Sample the best of our whisky by taking a tour of The Lakes Distillery.