How Different Glasses Affect Your Scotch
It’s hard to believe but the shape and size of glass you use does change your whisky. It can turn your Scotch into either a tasting or drinking experience. And no they’re not the same thing. Tasting is a process of assessing colour, smells and flavours. Drinking isn’t.
Sniffer glasses are for tasting because they intensify the sensory aspects of Scotch. They are always clear glass and never cut crystal, so that the colour of the whisky is not distorted. But that’s hardly impressive, clear glass to see the whisky clearly. The real reason these glasses are favoured over others is their shape. The funnel top sends the smells of the whisky directly to your nose and the bowl-shaped bottom holds a large volume of liquid, which intensifies these smells further. As if that wasn’t enough, the narrow top makes the shape ideal for swirling, letting oxygen into the liquid prompting further flavours to unfold. The combination of these features serves to give you the most intense tasting experience possible. But, to really understand why these features of the glass make a difference you only need to compare a sniffer glass to its opposite: the old fashioned tumbler.
When stood next to a sniffer glass the old fashioned tumbler looks plain, but don’t let the boring shape fool you. Old fashioned tumblers are good because they ignore tasting rules and let you have your whisky the way you want it. They’re for the kind of people who read the last paragraph and thought: “I just want to drink the damn whisky”. The simple shape doesn’t emphasise any specific smells or tastes. Instead, you can enjoy the whisky as a whole. This might sound unsophisticated: a plain glass to give you the general whisky flavour. However, old fashioned tumblers are special because they have enough room for ice or whatever mixer you want. Whisky experts advise not to have ice in your drink because it changes the taste. So? If you want ice then you should have it. The old fashioned tumbler accommodates this in the best way by having a thick glass bottom. Glass is a poor conductor of heat, so the thick base keeps your drink colder for longer. Unlike sniffer glasses, old fashioned tumblers can come in elaborate crystal designs or clear glass, whichever you prefer. Crystal designs make it harder to see the colour of the whisky, a whisky expert would protest. Yes, but who cares? You’re not interested in the colour. The old fashioned tumbler doesn’t surprise you with any unknown new flavours that you might not like. You can drink your whisky with ease knowing that its the way you want it.
There you have it, what type of glass you use does affect your Scotch. Are there any sceptics still there? I didn’t think so.