Choosing The Right Whisky Glasses | Ad Gefrin

Choosing The Right Whisky Glasses

7th June 2024

Smooth, malty, and warming, whisky is a drink to savour. Every sip unleashes its distinct character and flavours, but did you know that the glasses you pour your whisky into can affect the drinking experience? 

We looked briefly at whisky glassware in our top tips for whisky tasting — now let’s explore the subject in more detail.


The best shape and size for whisky glasses

Just as a champagne flute is designed to enhance drinking bubbles and a stemmed balloon glass is ideal for a refreshing gin and tonic, the best whisky glasses have a unique shape. But why is this important?


  • Aroma: A big part of whisky tasting is nosing — appreciating the spirit’s bouquet of aromas. Many whisky glasses feature a wide bowl that tapers towards the rim. This allows the aromas to gather, then funnels them upwards to your nose.


  • Flavour: The shape of a whisky glass can also affect how you taste it. Some shapes, for example, direct the drink to the centre of your tongue, helping you taste subtle sweet notes.


  • Temperature: Your whisky glasses can help maintain the best temperature for your particular spirit. Stemmed glasses will help keep your drink cooler while glasses without stems will let the heat from your hand gently warm the liquid. If you wish to chill your drink with whisky stones, you’ll want to make sure your glass is wide enough to hold it without displacing the liquid.


  • Oxidation: A glass with a wide bowl helps aerate and oxidise the whisky, bringing out its distinct flavours.

What about size? 

You can get both large and small whisky glasses, and the size you choose is really down to personal preference. A smaller whisky glass (holding around 4 to 6 oz or 113-170ml) is the perfect ‘dram’ for whisky tasting, while more generous vessels (8 to 12 ounces or 227-340ml) are best for adding ice or mixing a whisky cocktail.


Types of whisky glasses

There are plenty of traditional and unusual whisky glasses around, and each style will deliver a different drinking experience. Let’s take a look at some of the more classic whisky glass shapes.

Tulip-shaped whisky glasses

This type of glass is a great choice for whisky tasting. Its wide bowl tapers up like a tulip flower to help you enjoy the spirit’s aromas and experience the flavour profile. It usually has a stem, which helps keep your hand’s warmth away and the liquid at a consistent temperature.

Interestingly, this type of glass is based on the ‘copita’, a Spanish sherry glass.

Glencairn whisky glasses

Often considered the go-to for whisky connoisseurs, the Glencairn glass has a similar shape to the tulip glass. Its wide bowl and tapered upper half allow for easy swirling, which can further release those all-important flavours and aromas. 

Glencairn glasses tend to have a shorter stem than tulip-shaped whisky glasses, making them more robust and, for many, easier to hold. Our tapered Ad Gefrin Tumbler Glass embraces the tapered shape of a Glencairn to help amplify the tasting experience.

Old-fashioned whisky tumblers

Some whisky tumblers, however, feature a wider brim. Known as ‘old-fashioned’ glasses after the classic whisky cocktail, these provide plenty of room for adding ice or a dash of water.

Whisky snifters

Snifter glasses are often associated with brandy and other dark spirits but they can be an excellent vessel for whisky, too. These glasses offer a more exaggerated tapering, creating a balloon shape with a narrow rim. As well as funnelling the scents and flavours to you, this shape means you can hold the glass at an angle without it spilling. 

Whisky dram

The term ‘dram’ refers to any amount of whisky you can drink in a single mouthful. However, you can also find dedicated ‘dram’ glasses, like our elegant Ad Gefrin Branded Dram Glasses.

A modern take on traditional whisky glasses, these petite vessels hold 4oz and showcase a tulip-fluted shape, making them ideal for sampling our very own Tacnbora English whisky blend. 


Finding the best whisky glasses

When looking for a new whisky glass or tumbler, we recommend thinking about whether you enjoy your spirit neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail. This will help you work out the most appropriate glass size and shape.

If you’re searching for a whisky glasses gift set for someone else, treat them to a Whisky Flight with Three Ad Gefrin Glasses? Whether they share with loved ones or try out three different drams of whisky, it’s a sophisticated glassware set for any whisky beginner or connoisseur to enjoy using. 


The Ad Gefrin tasting experience

And for the ultimate whisky experience, bring your giftee along to an Ad Gefrin Distillery Tour and Tasting session? We’ll explain our whisky-making process as we show you around our impressive distillery, then guide you through a tasting experience so you’ll leave with expert knowledge on getting the most out of your dram. 

Book your tickets online today or browse our online shop for premium English whisky and quality whisky glasses.

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