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When it comes to drinking whiskey, your chosen glassware has a direct effect on your sensory experience. While a shot glass or the old coffee mug can get the job done in the most basic sense, neither engages your olfactory senses in the way the whiskey craftsmen intended.
Nosing whiskey – the act of bringing your whiskey to your nose for a sniff – is an essential component of the drinking experience. It allows you to detect aromas and flavors that you otherwise would not notice through just your sense of taste alone. Unfortunately, not all glassware is designed for an optimal nosing experience.
When choosing whiskey glassware, it’s important to keep in mind that a bulbous body shape is what allows for aromas to collect. This feature also lends itself easily to swirling your whiskey, which opens up the aromas even further. Meanwhile, a narrow rim easily directs aromas to your nose.
However, other designs, such as shorter glasses with wider rims, are also worth having on hand. While wide rims aren’t designed for nosing, these glasses are perfect for enjoying your drink on the rocks.
Whether you prefer to enjoy your whiskey neat or on the rocks, these artfully-designed glassware sets will enrich your drinking experience and help cultivate a stronger appreciation for the craft of whiskey itself.
1. Glencairn Whiskey Glass Set
A robust base and narrow rim allow the whiskey’s aromas to open up and travel directly to your nose, presenting flavors that would otherwise go unnoticed in a less-superior glass. Not only do these glasses facilitate a more immersive drinking experience, but their crystal composition gives the set the timeless appeal of elegance. Those who already have a deep appreciation for whiskey will recognize these glasses as a must-have.
This style of drinking glass was developed by the Glencairn company, out of Scotland, and was first introduced in 2001. The company won the Queen’s Award for innovation in 2006. The whiskey glass is now officially endorsed by the Scotch Whisky Association, and Glencairn says the glasses are used by most major whiskey companies in Scotland today.
2. Marquis by Waterford Double Old-Fashioned Glasses
Whether whiskey on the rocks is your drink of choice or you love a good Old-Fashioned, these are the best glasses to have on hand. Their wide rims may not direct the whiskey’s aromas toward your nose, but if you’re enjoying it with a serving of ice, the wider diameter is essential.
The glasses weigh about one pound each, and the substantial weight keeps them secure in your hand for a more robust and elevated drinking experience – no cheap cups here.
Made in Italy from lead-free crystalline, the glassware’s intricate, cut-pattern design and sturdiness make them staples for entertaining (they’ll look great displayed on your bar cart too). Waterford Crystal is one of most prestigious brands in the world, with a heritage that dates back all the way to 1783.
Hand wash these glasses to keep them in pristine condition for years to come.
3. Venero Crystal Whiskey Glasses
Not only are these crystal glasses eye-catching, but their sleek, sculptural design allows enough room for you to enjoy your whiskey on the rocks or as a mixed drink. No matter your preference, these glasses allow you to drink with style. What’s more, they are elegantly packaged in a satin-lined box, making them gift-ready – though you may just want to keep them for yourself.
These glasses feature a thick wall and heavy base, so they’ll keep drinks chilled for longer, while keeping your glass secure on the table. The unique design allows for a more ergonomic grip as well.
4. 5 O’Clock Rocks Whiskey Glasses
While these glasses are smaller than most – under three inches tall and across – their shape allows for a comfortable fit in your hand and prevents overpouring, which connoisseurs will appreciate. The slight curvature of the glass helps open up the whiskey’s aromas, while the thin lip allows for a smooth sip. We also love this set for its included recipe book – perfect for whiskey aficionados who want to explore mixology.
The simple design of these glasses make them great for all sorts of other drinks too, from cocktails to lemonade. Unlike some of the other picks on our list, these glasses are dishwasher-safe.