Choosing the right glass for enjoying whisky or cognac
In addition to taste, smell plays a very important role in enjoying different foods and drinks. Approximately 80% of what we taste derives actually from the sense of smell. The way the glass dispenses aromas first to the nose and then to the taste buds clearly affects the taste experience.
Traditional ball-shaped glasses are not the way to go
Many tend to enjoy their cognac from a traditional ball-shaped glass, but its shape does not do justice to the drink. Instead of enhancing the elegant aromas of cognac, it brings out more of the pungency of the alcohol.
This is due to the fact that when the drink is poured to a bowl that big it gets a lot of contact with air. In addition, as the top part of the bowl is much narrower than the base, the aromas are left spinning inside the glass and the aromas rising to the nose are strongly alcoholic and pungent.
80% of what we taste derives from the sense of smell
The short stem of the glass and the traditional way of holding the bowl with your hands warms the drink somewhat, which does not improve the taste of a room temperature spirit.
How does an aroma or tulip glass improve the taste experience?
The proper aroma glass, also known as a tulip glass, is suitable for both cognacs, whiskies, and liqueurs. The tulip-like bowl gives just enough contact with air and the size difference between the base and top of the bowl is not too big allowing aromas to rise straight to the nose instead of hiding at the edge of the glass.
A tulip glass also has a slightly longer stem which gives you a good grip and makes it easier to swirl the drink and allow the aromas to rise evenly.
What is a Glencairn whiskey glass?
The Glencairn glass is a glass developed in collaboration with whiskey distilleries that’s becoming more and more common in the whiskey world. It combines the best qualities of a tulip glass with the weight, thick base, and ‘hand-fit’ of the traditional whiskey tumbler.
Is whiskey enjoyed with or without ice?
The traditional whiskey tumbler is suitable for enjoying American Bourbon whiskey with ice. Bourbon whiskeys are traditionally enjoyed with ice as bourbons are made so intense and often have a high alcohol content that benefits from taming them with ice to bring out the whiskey aromas the best.
On the other hand, the diversity and subtle aromas of Scotch malt whiskeys are often lost if they are chilled or diluted with water. So, enjoy your single malt whiskies and cognacs at room temperature so you do the aromas justice.
A tip for storing whiskey bottles
Store opened alcohol bottles for example in a cupboard or in other words in the dark and at room temperature, which is also the ideal drinking temperature. UV radiation is particularly harmful to aged alcohols such as cognac and whiskey as it can weaken the colors and aromas of the drink.