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What Alternatives to Glencairn Whisky Glasses?

thewhiskylady - 2016-11-16
It is with no doubt the complex and rich aroma in whisky that makes the spirit so charming.
One of the secrets of tasting the complex flavors is in the glass you use and while the composition of the spirit doesn’t change, the size and shape of the glass DOES influence how we perceive the aroma and texture.
My go-to glass has – by habit and comfort – always been a simple but trustworthy tulip-shaped Glencairn but as I like to try new whiskies, I also thought it could be interesting to try new glasses, at least for the sake of science and experimentation ;). Here are then some new glasses I tested and approved as great alternatives to Glencairns:
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The Norlan Glass

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The Norlan glass is a transparent double walled vessel, formed with glass blowing technique into two separate two-part molds: one for the inner wall, and one for the outer wall. When the inner and outer glass walls are prepared, the rims are reheated and the inner glass is inserted, at which time the rims are sealed. This creates a hollow body glass with dramatically different inside shape to outside shape.

A unique effect of the double-walled construction is the intensity of color added to spirits in the bowl, which is further carried up into the rim of the glass.


Through specially developed protrusion forms inside the glass — adapted through studying bio-mimicry — when swirled around the glass the fluid forms a standing wave shape, which increases the surface to air ratio and rate of oxidization. The effect here is that considerably more ethanol evaporates. This resulting reduction in volatility allows the whisky to become significantly more expressive. This feature is an invention of the Norlan glass — no other whisky glass will do this for you.


Aroma Focus

The second main performance feature is the shape of the inner walls, which close as they rise and then flare out again so as not to hit the nose. The height and diameter of the smallest aperture focuses the aromatics to the nose while simultaneously diffusing the ethanol away from the face, fantastically improving the taste of your whisky.

The casual drinker and aficionado alike commonly enjoy whisky or bourbon in an “old- fashioned” tumbler, a wide open-brimmed glass intended for iced cocktails. Many connoisseurs prefer a narrower aperture of the brim, opting for a tasting (or nosing) glass—a stemmed tulip-shaped snifter that concentrates the aromas and allow for inspection of the spirit’s color without marking the glass’ bowl with fingerprints.

“We took these two preferences to heart and through an extensive process of analyzing fluid dynamics and flavor transfer, iterative design, and expert feedback, created an entirely new whisky glass.”

Why I like the Norlan glass: I feel like Norlan is just the right compromise between a more traditional nosing glass and a tumbler. I also particularly appreciate the quality of the glass and its design. Also, it can happen that while sampling some single cask whiskies of higher proof, it’s just too much for me to handle and in this case, I found Norlan to be quite a good alternative to water. The glass will bring out the aromas without burning too much.


Tripod Tasting Glass Set

More than a single glass, Tripod have come up with a set of 3 glasses to suit every occasion.

To bring you the most fulfilling whisky tasting, Tripod Glass set prepared 3 glasses, each with different design features, that unveils different aroma notes, and complements each other to compose a complete whisky experience, for you to enjoy every aspect of your favorite drink.
  • Copita Glass: Aroma notes will distribute evenly around the rim, presenting the most authentic taste of your spirit. 

  • Tumbler: The wide opening allows ethanol to dissipate quickly, as drinkers can enjoy the wild and straight flavor.

  • Caldron Glass: The distinctive shape concentrates rich aroma in its round belly, and let the fruity and floral bouquets flows naturally along the flared rim


Why I like Tripod Glasses: this little leggy-pokemon glass is just so cute… But seriously, I love the idea behind this set of glasses: designing 3 different glasses to suit our mood is exactly what whisky is about to me. I’ve always heard people say “there’s a whisky for every occasion” – so why shouldn’t it be the same thing with glasses? I would for instance go for the tumbler glass if I’m enjoying my whisky on the rocks or in a cocktail or choose the copita for a proper traditional tasting (especially if I need to come up with tasting notes).

Also worth noting, those 3 glasses have been thought, designed and produced in Taiwan to reflect antique drinkware and Eastern traditions, which I find utterly cool!


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