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Single malt glasses

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Single malt glasses

Postby Jeremy » Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:32 pm

I've seen several different shapes in glasses that were supposedly designed specifically with enjoying single malt in mind, and am wondering about how they differ. Here are the two main glasses I'm wondering about, but if someone has thoughts about other shapes I'd love to hear them as well:

1) The Glencairn Scottish Crystal Blender's Malt Glass. This has a sort of pear-like shape. The Malt Advocate marketplace, which sells them, states that the shape is meant to "fully capture the whisky's aroma and color".

2) The Reidel Vinum Single Malt glass. This has straight sides and an outward-turned lip that is apparently (according to some verbiage on amazon.com) supposed to direct the whisky to the part of the tongue best suited for tasting.

So, is #1 designed more for nosing and #3 designed more for sipping? Or is it more complicated than that?

Jeremy
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Postby Admiral » Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:14 am

This topic has been discussed numerous times - I suggest you trawl through the archives, and you'll find multiple discussions on the matter.

For my money, the Riedel glass is not a good one. Seriously, does anyone really believe that the lip on the glass will affect how the whisky is delivered onto your tongue? No matter what the shape of the glass, we all purse our lips and the whisky enters our mouth via the orifice we form. It falls into your tongue. Period.

Appreciating the nose is one of the most important parts of whisky appreciation, and the Riedel glass is next to useless for that purpose.

Go the Glencairn glass anyday. It's great for nosing, comfortable to hold and hand-warm the dram, and it "delivers" onto the palate the same as any other glass.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:07 am

Hi Jeremy! Whereabouts are you? I notice you joined the forum in 2004, and there is about a year-and-a-half gap between your sixth and seventh posts. I wish it to be noted to the other members that not everyone from Massachusetts runs on like I do. (But I'm tired of picking up your slack, man.... :wink: )

By all means search the archives, as Admiral suggests, but don't be surprised if this thread gets a fair amount of response--it's one of those topics we all love to yak about repeatedly. I've never used a Riedel glass, but my thoughts on it are similar to Admiral's. As well, they're rather expensive, and look as though they are made of soap bubbles--I feel quite sure they would not last long on my desktop. The Glencairn glass is well liked by many, and is tough, besides--I've seen one bounce on a wooden floor (Ron!). It's possible to break one (Mr T!), but it's not easy. They were designed with bar trade in mind. I would wish the base were a little squatter and broader for added stability, but that's a quibble. Some complain that they are a little thick for hand-warming, but I have found no great problem with that.

I generally prefer a midsize snifter. I have a nice pair of them here at home (bequeathed to me by the fellow who bounced my Glencairn on the floor, so I guess I can't complain). These are ideal in my mind, as they are quite broad at the bottom, so that there is a large surface area of whisky to give off vapors, and there is a lot of space in the glass to accumulate them. A feature of these particualr glasses that I like is that they are relatively flat on the bottom of the bowl, with no dimple inside.

A lot of bars I've been in serve malts in inappropriate glasses, but they almost all have snifters, and in that circumstance I always request one.

I would like to have a glass shaped like a snifter bowl--perhaps even a bit broader and flatter on the bottom, but no thicker--without a stem, but with three very small feet for stability. I think that would be my ideal, althought the stem on a snifter does make it easier to pick up.
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Postby Jeremy » Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:12 am

Thanks to you both for the pointer to the archives, I'll certainly try to dig up a few old threads there, and I look forward to reading the collective wisdom of the forum on that topic.

For the record, I currently own a quartet of the Glencairn glasses, plus three more glasses of essentially the same shape (a pair purchased at Aberlour that are the same shape only smaller, and a glass that came with a Glenmorangie gift pack that has more or less the same shape to the bowl, but is raised up on a stem and has a cute glass cover). I like them well enough, but was curious as to whether I should consider Reidel when expanding my glassware collection.

MrTattieHeid wrote:Hi Jeremy! Whereabouts are you? I notice you joined the forum in 2004, and there is about a year-and-a-half gap between your sixth and seventh posts. I wish it to be noted to the other members that not everyone from Massachusetts runs on like I do. (But I'm tired of picking up your slack, man.... :wink: )

I'm in Somerville, and I guess it has been a while since I last visited this forum. But I would take care before holding me up to others as an example of someone from our fair commonwealth who doesn't run on, or I may disappoint you<G>.

MrTattieHeid wrote:I generally prefer a midsize snifter.

While looking around online today, I found the following in a paragraph describing the development of the Reidel shape on Amazon.com:
In September 1992, a group of Britain¿s leading single malt experts gathered in London to test the prototype. They agreed that the subtle aromas of the whisky were lost in a traditional tumbler; brandy balloons emphasized the alcohol at the expense of finesse; and the copita tended to magnify the oak components to such an extent that the whisky began to take on cognac-like characteristics. The Riedel glass emerged as the clear winner, bringing forward the pure malt character of all the whiskies tasted by concentrating their aromas and accentuating their softness, roundness and silkiness.

But, of course, one has to take such sales literature with more than a grain of salt.

Cheers,

Jeremy
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Postby Lawrence » Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:27 am

Admiral and Mr. T make some good comments and I agree with them about the Riedel, it's just hopeless for nosing & tasting whisky. If you just want to drink then I would have to agree that it's suitable but more than that and it doesn't work.

I tend to bounce between the Glencairn and the tradional blenders nosing and tasting glass (based on a sherry copita) and it's the one I'm using at present. I like the Glencairn but have difficulty warming the whisky before nosing. The blenders nosing & tasting glass is more suited IMHO.
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Postby Frodo » Fri Mar 10, 2006 9:30 am

Lawrence wrote:Admiral and Mr. T make some good comments and I agree with them about the Riedel, it's just hopeless for nosing & tasting whisky. If you just want to drink then I would have to agree that it's suitable but more than that and it doesn't work.


I agree completely!
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Postby corbuso » Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:25 am

I did organized some blind tastings, including one where I laid out 8 different glasses containing the same whisky and was quite surprised to see the differences in terms of scoring. The difference was up to 4 points (on a scale from 1 to 10) between the top and lowest score. The Tumbler was scoring the lowest. On the top mark were the Rastal glass and surprisingly the shot glass. The Glencairn and the ISO were well rated.

Personally, my favorite one is the short Glencairn.

Corbuso

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Postby Jan » Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:34 am

Hi Jeremy

At the top of the Q&A forum, you'll find a thread called Frequently Asked Questions - an index of earlier discussions ordered by subject. There would be links a handfull of threads discussing glasses.

Personally I prefer the Glencairn glasses - they do the job aromawise and I like the robust design - it just fits welll in my hand.

Cheers
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:58 pm

I am a Glencairn fan too as it is a great all rounder. Also I do not see the point in spending money on a glass which may be dearer than the bottle I'm drinking :wink:

By the way has anybody niticed a slight change in the glass. The earlier ones had a solid base but newer ones now seem to have a recess in the base. :?:

It's great though as when you think you are finished there is one sip left at the end which always feels like a bonus 8)

However I too like drinking out of tumblers and see nothing wrong with them. If I am in company and having a good old natter I feel whiskey in a tumbler is just the man. As the company is the focus and not the whiskey then. Especially when we are sharing a bottle till the death :twisted: Granted it won't be a 1971 glenrothes that I'll be doing that with though :lol:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:52 pm

Glencairn for durablility, quality and the dishwasher.

One or two 'classic' sampling glasses for special occasions.

Reidel are ridiculously priced and, according to Jim Murray, a load of sh*t. I tend to agree. The logic of the outturned rim escapes me.

The dark blue sampling glasses are a good talking point, if observing the colour of your dram isn't an issue.
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Mar 11, 2006 6:51 pm

Glencairn for durablility, quality and the dishwasher.


Do you really put your glasses in the dishwasher? Don't you detect a residue of soap on the glasses afterwards?

Also where do you find the blue nosing glasses? I've been trying to find some without any luck.

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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:48 am

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:By the way has anybody niticed a slight change in the glass. The earlier ones had a solid base but newer ones now seem to have a recess in the base. :?:


I have some that are relatively smooth and flat at the bottom of the bowl inside, some with a recess that itself has a flat bottom, and some that have a recess with a bit of a bubble at the bottom. I wonder if there has been a change in the manufacturing process. I would prefer the smooth ones, for ease of cleaning if nothing else.
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Postby WestVanDave » Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:37 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:
irishwhiskeychaser wrote:By the way has anybody niticed a slight change in the glass. The earlier ones had a solid base but newer ones now seem to have a recess in the base. :?:


I have some that are relatively smooth and flat at the bottom of the bowl inside, some with a recess that itself has a flat bottom, and some that have a recess with a bit of a bubble at the bottom. I wonder if there has been a change in the manufacturing process. I would prefer the smooth ones, for ease of cleaning if nothing else.


I've noticed some slight batch variations between Glencairn's bought over the last few years (with The Blenders Malt Glass inscribed on the bottom on earlier purchases and The Glencairn Glass on the current batches)... Most of my Glencairn glasses have a raised bump in the centre - a convex inside surface.

The Glencairn glass I received at the Victoria Whisky Festival (January 2006) has instead a significant dip or recess; a concave surface at the bottom.

I also noticed that the last batch I received were in boxes marked "ARC International Made in France" ... go figure. These had some dates written on the boxes that would have me believe they were from older stock (possibly 2002)... but then these are also etched on the bottom with THE GLENCAIRN GLASS.
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