The Glencairn Scotch Whisky Glass

by Thamisgith

The Glencairn Scotch whisky glass, although a fairly recent innovation, has very rapidly become synonymous with whisky drinking. What makes this glass so special?

The Glencairn Scotch whisky glass, designed and developed by Glencairn Crystal in Scotland, is an increasingly popular choice with whisky drinkers everywhere. Its special design is intended to maximize the pleasure derived from drinking whisky.

Nosing glasses, "copitas", and dock glasses have been around for centuries, but it was only in 2001, after 25 years of development and discussion with master whisky distillers and blenders, that the Glencairn whisky glass was born.

Remarkably, until that time, there was no dedicated whisky glass associated with Scotland's national drink. In 2006, the company was awarded the Queen's Award for Innovation in recognition of the fact that whisky finally had a glass of its own.

Choosing The Right Whisky Glass

A Matter of Some Importance

Glencairn scotch whisky glassSpeaking as a whisky drinker myself, I can say that the right whisky glass can really make a difference to the enjoyment of a wee dram. Personally, I like to drink my whisky straight, with no ice or water.

I like to use a nice crystal glass for this - and I prefer one which has fairly minimal decoration, but which has good weight. It should feel good in your hand and allow you to appreciate the color and depth of the whisky. An old fashioned whisky tumbler generally works well for me.

Of course, if you like to add something to your whisky, water or soda for example, then you might prefer a slightly larger glass, maybe even a tall glass. It just depends on how you like your tipple I suppose.

Until recently, there wasn't really a glass associated with whisky. However, that seems to have changed somewhat since Glencairn crystal collaborated with master whisky blenders to develop the Glencairn Scotch whisky glass.

This is specially shaped to channel the whisky's aroma towards the taster's nose. This is based on a traditional sherry copita - but the overall design is intended to be more robust for everyday use. It's also a little easier to drink from - you don't have to tip it quite so far back to get at the good stuff - and it has a solid base rather than a stem.

It's also perfectly sized to allow a good measure of whisky (say about 35 ml - or 1.2 ounces if you prefer) to be dispensed whilst still allowing a little room for water. There isn't really enough room for ice, but you probably wouldn't want to add ice to a good whisky anyway!

The short video below will give you some pointers on which type of whisky glass to choose. It's well worth watching.

What Type of Glass Should Be Used For Drinking Whisky?

Which Type of Glass Should You Choose?

Glencairn Canadian whisky glassAs mentioned earlier, I prefer an old fashioned, cut crystal whisky tumbler myself - at least for every day drinking. However, I really like to use a Glencairn glass when I'm trying a new whisky for the first time - or when I have a whisky that is extra special, and I really want to savor the aroma and bouquet.

If you haven't tried drinking whisky from the Glencairn glass yet, prepare to be astonished at just how much more you get in terms of aroma.

Since the introduction of their Scotch whisky glass, Glencairn Crystal have also worked with Canadian whisky masters and developed a special glass for Canadian whisky (see image). This is a little wider, and has a flat base, which some people may prefer.

In the end, it's a very personal choice and you should go with whatever works best for you. Do give the Glencairn glass a try if you get the chance though!

NB: For the best results, your Glencairn whisky glass should be stored within arms reach of a bottle of Single Scottish malt whisky.

Adding Water And/Or Ice To Whisky?

Mixing Your Drinks!

Personally speaking, I think that the only thing you need to add to whisky is more whisky - but it's a matter of personal taste.

How do you like to take yours?

How Do You Like Your Whisky?

Updated: 09/05/2017, Thamisgith
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Thamisgith on 08/08/2013

Hi Ralpapajan - I'm glad that got some ideas for gifts. It's a shame that you are allergic to alcohol yourself - but you could always use it for soft drinks if you like! It's a nice looking glass (even without the whisky in it).

Ralpapajan on 08/08/2013

This is a great Article. I am allergic to alcohol but it has given me ideas for a present for others. Thank you for this. Your articles are very clear and detailed.

Thamisgith on 07/20/2013

Hi Tolovaj - never too late when it comes to whisky (or brandy for that matter) :o)

Tolovaj on 07/20/2013

Totally makes sense. I personally prefer brandy (where the right glass and temperature is a must), but can also enjoy in scotch. It's about time to dedicate right glass to this noble drink. Better late then never, I suppose:)

Thamisgith on 07/18/2013

@Elias - thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Definitely give these glasses a try if you get the chance (more and more bars have them). Really amplifies the aroma.

Thamisgith on 07/18/2013

@WordChazer - Bowmore 12! Great choice. Drink that from a cracked teacup and it would still hit the spot :o)

Guest on 07/18/2013

"NB: For the best results, your Glencairn whisky glass should be stored within arms reach of a bottle of Single Scottish malt whisky." Mine is stored in its box, in the glass cabinet. Within 2m is what is currently a 3/4 full bottle of Grant's Sherry Cask. Next to that is a much-prized bottle of Bowmore 12. Special occasions only...

EliasZanetti on 07/18/2013

Being a whisky fan The glasses you recommend seem as a nice and appropriate addition to the whole experience.

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