Glassware Review

You've probably had wine from a Solo cup. Me too. Bourbon out of a Solo cup? Yeah, me too. Beer out of a Glencairn glass? Yes, I have. I actually kind of like it.

The other night I decided to drink half a bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel, a private selection by former master distiller Jim Rutledge. It's a 35% rye, 9 year, 10 month old OBSO bourbon. 111.6 proof. Hot and spicy. Red Hot cinnamons, dark fruits, brown sugar, oak, burn.

I decided to mix it up with glassware. Here's my completely unscientific take on the whiskey glasses in the cabinet(s).

The Champ: The Glencairn


Developed by Scotland's Glencairn Crystal, Ltd. in 2001, the makers of the glass consulted master blenders from five of Scotland's largest distilleries. It's copita, or aroma enhancing narrow taper, concentrates aromas like no other vessel. Even better than that, for me, is the ability to vigorously swirl whiskey in the Glencairn. You can whip that !@#$&% around, and it will not leave the glass. It's solid too- I don't think it would shatter if you dropped it from waist high. Haven't tried it though. $8/glass.

Runner-up: Riedel Vinum


The Riedel Vinum is constructed from "the most brilliantly clear crystal." Riedel is an Austrian company that traces its roots to 1756. The vinum single malt whisky glass is made in Germany. Riedel is notable for its varietal specific wine glasses and there are many. While I appreciate the construction of their vinum whisky glass, I don't feel like I can swing it around like I can the Glencairn. Too dainty for me despite the generally positive smelling/drinking experience. $50/set of 2.

#3: The NEAT glass


The NEAT glass (Naturally Engineered Aromas Technology) is all about eliminating nose burn. In 2003, a glass blowing mistake apparently led to the creation of this glass. "NEAT design begins in the science lab, not the styling studio." According to Arsilica, the makers of the NEAT glass, aroma is 90% of flavor. The wide open rim increases evaporation and creates a "sweet spot" for your nose. I personally think the NEAT glass feels like a flower bud vase. It doesn't wow me in the way I had hoped. $25/set of 2.

#4: Wild Turkey Rocks Glass


A Wild Turkey gift shop pick up. A really nice looking rocks glass with a inward taper. Promotes swirling but concentrates alcohol burn toward the nose. The solution is to wait five minutes, but if you're impatient like me, you'll probably just drink up. It's also a touch too wide to fit comfortably in the hand. $10/glass.

#5: Four Roses Gift Set Glass


I got two of these open rimmed glasses in a Four Roses Single Barrel gift set. I cannot tell you how many times I've spilled my bourbon when using these glasses. Swirl just a little bit and it's liable to go flying. $59 for bourbon and 2 glasses.


#6: South Carolina Plastic Cup


Not bad. Better than a Solo cup since it has a Palmetto tree on it. Did you know that's not a moon, but rather a gorget (a steel collar used to protect the throat in battle)? The open nose promotes evaporation, but it promotes so much evaporation that you can't pick up the notes very well. Better for a 6-pack at a tailgate. In fact, I was drinking like a college kid at a tailgate by the time I got to the plastic SC flag cup.

#7: This lowball glass.


The sheer faces of the lowball glass make aromas elusive. I like a lowball glass for Bourbon Cream on ice, not two ounces of expensive single barrel bourbon.

There you have it. Write in and let me know what you prefer.

Check out this similar review from the Baltimore Post Examiner.

- JCT