A good whiskey glass will make you enjoy your whiskey. The difference between different glasses is their shape, which is designed to let you savor the aroma that comes with your drink. Most people love bulbous glasses as they collect and release the aroma through a small rim. With a good glass, whether you are nosing or drinking, you will fancy the experience. There is a glass for every whiskey lover on the market – all you have is run with what your eyes settle on. Sometimes it is not about the aroma, but the aesthetics of a glass that a drinker loves. This guide shows you how to pick the best whiskey glass.

Why A Whiskey Glass Over A Regular Glass?

A novice will not realize the difference between different glasses as long as the whiskey gets to the mouth. According to Riedel, one of the most popular glassware company, distinct glass shapes direct the whiskey to a different part of your mouth ideal for the initial taste and flavor profile of the whiskey. Some shapes, especially the bulbous, offer great nosing opportunities for the drinker based on the ABV of the whiskey.

While the brain might not care which part of the mouth the taste is coming from, a perfectly shaped glass will direct all the flavor of the whiskey to your nose, for better nosing.

What are the advantages of whiskey glasses over other glasses?

Like earlier mentioned, the difference between these glasses is in their shapes. Some shapes are designed to allow better oxidation and offer a stronger nose while other shapes are intended to maintain the alcohol content. Some glasses are great for mixing when you need cocktails and others have stems that ensure your drink does not warm from holding it. Some shapes are just for aesthetics, they look good on your hands, and this also enhances the drinking or nosing experience too.

In the world of whiskeys, especially for those who have been drinking for a while, there is an etiquette to follow. After all, you cannot serve a good bottle of whiskey in plastic cups, can you?

What are the different types of Whiskey Glasses?

There are hundreds of whiskey glasses on the market, each with a different shape, height, or diameter. Some common types include:

Tulip-Shape Glass

The shape of this glass is based on the classic copita glass in Spain, which was used to sample cherry. It has a long stem that prevents your drink from getting warm and a bowl design that collects your whiskey’s aroma through a narrow rim. The long stem also keeps smells off your drink. If need be, you can cradle your drink to warm it.



The Glencairn has a shape almost similar to the tulip. However, it has a shorter stem and a narrower rim. Its bowl is thicker and more substantial than the tulip. This makes it ideal if you are learning to swirl drinks and you are a fan of nosing. Due to its relatively narrow rim, all the aroma is collected for you to sample. Its thick and heavy base makes the glass stable. If you do not fancy stems, this is a good option for you.

Whiskey Tumbler

The tumbler is the most classic whiskey glass. It is characterized by a wide rim, not ideal for nosing, but useful when you need to add ice to your drink. The wide and heavy base makes it robust and easy for you to mix cocktails. Its plain design is excellent for silent drinkers, those who enjoy the taste more than the smell.


A highball is a tall tumbler. It is a popular whiskey cocktails glass, allowing a lot of ice, whiskey, and soda. It is popular in Japanese clubs. Like the tumbler, it has a plain shape and users do not mind as long as it holds a good deal of cocktail.

The Snifter/Balloon

The Balloon is a classic, and it shows class. Drinkers mostly use it for brandy, no wonder the term brandy balloon. Their design lets you pour your drink with ease, and when drinking, you can hold it partially horizontally/tilt it, without worrying that your drink will pour out. The balloon has a small rim that collects the aroma and a wide body to hold your liquor. Its shape, however, can collect harsh ethanol vapors. Its stem keeps your drink cold.

NEAT Glass

NEAT is an acronym for Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology. It is a glass that sports a peculiar shape where the bottom is a bowl shape, but it has a wide rim. Its form is suitable for nosing. It was engineered to direct harsh ethanol vapors away from your nose. By driving away the harsh light ethanol vapor from your nose, the glass leaves the fresh aroma of whiskey molecules. This is a glass designed for appreciation and suitable for new users thanks to its ability to shun harsh vapors. You might take a while to get used to its shape.

How to Choose The Best Whiskey Glass For Your Preference

There are four main factors to consider when you are buying a whiskey glass: volume, clarity, shape, and esthetics or appeal.


Unless you do not intend to taste your whiskey before swallowing, a generously large glass is the best. With a large glass, you can mix drinks with ease and even savor all the aroma. A bigger glass also allows you to add ice and it is also ideal for different drinks. The best whiskey glass should hold between 8 and 10 ounces. This means, shot glasses are not in the mix. If you love precision, especially when making cocktails, shot glasses are ideal.


Whenever possible, clear glasses are king. This lets you see the whiskey within and bring it to life. It is a subjective matter especially when light shines through the glass. Crystal glasses are also great as they bring a different effect on the glass. The clarity of the glass determines presentation.


For nosing, choose big-bottomed glasses with narrow rims such as tulip, Glencairn, or balloon. These glasses will draw and focus the aroma directly to your nose. Whether the glass has a stem or not, a wide bowl lets your drink breathe to enhance its fragrance and its complexities. When you need to drink whiskey cocktails, choose everyday shaped glasses such as tumbler and highball.


You know the kind of glass you love. By using a glass whose appearance you fancy, you will enjoy the drinking experience even more.

Glencairn Cut Crystal

The Glencairn Cut Crystal is designed after the copito glass from Spain, one of the most celebrated whiskey glasses. It is the unique shape of the glass that makes it a favorite of blenders and connoisseurs. It offers something between a balloon and a tulip shaped glass, making it ideal for nosing and drinking. Its curved rim feels comfortable on your lips with its narrowness funneling all the aroma towards your nose.

The glass has a wide bowl that lets you appreciate good whiskey and a short, but heavy stem for those who are not fancied by stems.

  • Good for nosing and drinking
  • Endorsed by scotch whiskey association
  • The ergonomic shape feels comfortable on your hands and lips
  • Relatively pricey

Schott Zwiesel Paris Barware

Schott Zwiesel is a company that has been in the industry for more than 130 years, now making different forms of glasses, different shapes, for different drinks. The Schott Zwiesel Paris Barware is a tumbler whiskey glass with a straight shape from top to bottom. It is made of Triatan crystal, which is the classic material used by Schott Zwiesel. This is a combination of titanium and zirconium oxide. The glass is resistant to scratch, and it is difficult to break. Each glass sports an oversized and weighted bottom that gives it an impressive feel on the hands.

Even with its sturdy construction, the glass is still light and comfortable on your hands.

  • Strong and durable construction
  • Dishwasher safe
  • The design is rather plain

Riedel Vinum

Riedel Vinum is a contemporary glass and for a good reason. It sports a thistle design, which is like an improved version of the NEAT glass. Unlike most NEAT glasses, however, it is relatively tall and has a broader base. The glass, which the manufacturer claims was engineered in 1992 by more than 15 scotch experts, features a wide mouth on its long body. This design allows you to inhale the aroma of the whiskey deeply.

The curved design of the rim will match your lips. The glass has added lead on its crystals brilliance to appeal to your aesthetic taste. It holds about seven ounces, which is ideal for the convivial drinker.

  • Sparling design thanks to added lead
  • Good for nosing
  • A little small

Waterford Crystal Lismore

Waterford Crystal Lismore has been making glasses since the 1700s. No wonder the company has a high number of glasses of all sorts. This double old-fashioned glass wears the pristine reputation of the company in its design. It has a tumbler design, but instead of being simple, it sports a crystal design at the bottom, adding a better drinking experience to your whiskey. The diamond and wedge patterns at the lower part of the glass add style and grip.

According to the manufacturer, each glass is handcrafted in Ireland. It holds 12 ounces of whiskey, giving you enough for any occasion.

Orrefors Intermezzo Blue Glass

The Orrefors Intermezzo is a high volume clear tumbler designed with a substantial base. This glass is ideal for cocktails and can be used when you need to put a lot of ice into your drink. Weighing 12.8 ounces, the glass is comfortable on your hands and also stable when placed on a table. It is designed to bring a splash of nuance to your drink. Each glass sports a single color touch that stems from its base. This is geared towards offering you a classic looking glass with modern taste.

Each glass is hand dropped to bring the distinction needed to appeal to a host of drinkers. Each glass is designed strong to withstand frequent washing and to knock with other drinks.

  • Transparent design with a single color dot at the bottom
  • Hand dropped to make it distinct
  • Designed durable
  • Some dots at the bottom are tiny to be seen


Whether you need a glass for nosing or everyday drinking, the Glencairn Cut Crystal will offer you the quality you need. The history of this glass design dates back many centuries where it was used to sample cherry. On your hands, the glass feels comfortable and so is the case on your lips.

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