5 Types of Bourbon Whiskey Tasting Glasses and What They Do


Rocks Glass

This type of glass is most popular in bars and similar establishments primarily because of its durability and ease of use.  They stack well and can be stored relatively easy.  The thick base holds up well to muddling and other general wear and tear.  This is the most common general drinking vessel while consuming whiskey, either in a cocktail or on the rocks “ice” where the name comes from.


The Glencairn is the most popular drinking glass for bourbon fans who drink their spirit neat and really want to sip and savor their brown liquor.  Its thin side walls do not hold up well in a bar setting, but the cabinets of whiskey connoisseurs are littered with this style of glass. The thick glass bottom keeps the whiskey from being heated up too much by the hand of the drinker and the bulb mid section collects the spirit and funnels it upwards to a tapered mouth, allowing for nosing of the drink.  Ice can be added to this glass, but only a small amount. 


Snifter Glass

This glass is a cross between a wine glass and a Glencairn.  It allows you to hold more whiskey in the glass and is a bit easier to manage if you are in a social situation, talking and walking around.  The spirit is allowed to be warmed slowly, and just like the Glencairn, the mouth is more narrow than the body, allowing the evaporated alcohol to be collected and nosed by the drinker.  This glass is good for just about any situation.  It’s great for home bars and works equally as well at bars or similar places.  Can be stored in a standard wine glass holder rack. 


Distillers Tasting Glass

This glass is similar to a Glencairn, but even more finely tuned to drinking bourbon.  It’s smaller and allows for a larger bourbon to air ration in your glass.  You are able to nose the bourbon even easier, however, this glass is not intended for social situations.  It does have a thick base like the other glasses, however, it’s squatty nature and smaller midsection make it more attune to situations without a lot of movement. This glass is not designed to hold ice, but a small piece can be used if you would prefer.  Similar to the Glencairn, this glass is more delicate and cannot be stacked.  It’s not really recommended for bars or other establishments. Definitely for more intimate settings. 


The Neat Glass

This is the strangest looking of all the glasses I mentioned.  It has the same bulging midsection and tapers upwards like all the other glasses, however, strangely it flairs out again at the mouth.  The creators of the glass say they did studies and crafted the perfect glass.  Their studies say the outward flair at the mouth allows for some of the ethanol vapors to be released making for a more enjoyable experience.  This glass is designed to maximize your enjoyment of the spirit, although, its lack of a thick base can lend to heating up the liquid if the glass is in your hand for a long period of time.  Ice does not interfere too much with the function of this glass and may be used if desired.  More intimate settings is where this glass can do its work.  Not standing at a bar talking to your friends. 


Which glass is best?  Well it depends on your situation and how you enjoy your whiskey.  Do you like ice, no ice, social situations, etc.  As you may have noticed there is not just one perfect glass.  There are lots of great glasses for almost any situation.  Experiment with different glasses and see which one you like the most.  You will be surprised to see how much the glass can affect the flavor. 



Jordan Grigsby

Growing up in bourbon country, Jordan has developed a deep appreciation for bourbon and whiskey.This isn't limited to just the fabulous brown spirit, but the historical value and cultural significance behind it.His art background has only deepened this love affair and he hopes, through his writings, you truly see bourbon as he sees it.