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Crystal Scotch Whisky Glasses for Single Malt Connoisseurs

Updated on September 21, 2010
Copitas for sniffing.
Copitas for sniffing.

You’ve probably taken a fine bottle of single malt scotch to a gathering only to find the host didn’t have suitable glasses. In the worst circumstances scotch drinkers have resorted to drinking out of mugs or shot glasses, which is indeed cringe-worthy. Either one is awkward for sipping and savouring high-quality scotch. Low ball tumblers may be great for mixed drinks; however this type doesn’t have a taper which will allow all those complex aromas to be directed towards the nose.

In a pinch a wine glass isn’t a bad choice. If you want the absolute best tasting experience, getting a crystal scotch whisky glass specialized for sampling single malts is of course ideal. First off, a scotch glass is perfectly fluted so that the tastes and smells hit you with the most impact. Secondly the lower center of gravity makes it more stable and less likely to get knocked over. Keep in mind that you interact with a glass more when drinking scotch, so it is more probable you’ll get a little clumsy at some point during the night, especially when you have plenty of other jolly drinking buddies around.

Now let’s take a look at the best three crystal scotch glasses for malt maniacs.

Glencairn Whisky Glass

This style of glass is a recent innovation, however it’s so perfect for single malt tasting its almost hard to believe it took this long for it to arrive on the scene. The credited inventor is Raymond Davidson of Glencairn Crystal Ltd, Scotland. It was first available in 2001 and has since been supplied almost exclusively to the whisky industry, as it is a very specialized glass. The fluted design and low center of gravity makes it as practical as it is creative.

Nosing Copitas

Copitas are the traditional glasses used for scotch tasting along with tumblers in poorer circumstances. This design originates from the Spanish Copita, thus the name. It resembles a miniaturized wine glass with a taller bowl, allowing the scent of whisky to glide up to the nose. The curved edges also promote the flavours and smells to stay in the glass before the scotch drinker decides to take a sip.

Small Brandy Balloon

Single malt expert and video blogger Ralfy recommends this type of glass as a great alternative to the more popular options listed above. It holds a good amount of whisky, without getting ridiculous, making it a great party glass. The balloon design does an admirable job of getting the aromas to circulate around in the glass. Some may prefer the fancier presentation of the crystal as well.

The Verdict

If you drink single malt scotch at home from time to time, a good set of glasses is absolutely essential. With a tumbler, for example, you are missing out on much of what a complex scotch has to offer. With a tapered design all the good stuff is directed at your nose or tongue like a missile.

It’s also a good idea to have a crystal pitcher of water to match your set of scotch glasses. Depending on the scotch and the drinker, adding a little water can even out the flavour and make a great whisky even better. Of course it’s good to have around regardless to drink in between drinks. Like any other alcoholic beverage, scotch has the tendency to dehydrate the body.

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