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What is the best glassware to use with bourbon? I can see using a snifter to capture the nose and I can also see using A big Old Fashion glass. What do the "pros" use to show the bourbon to best advantage?
I have a Glencairn that I like well enough - but it's very small in my hand. I also use what I call a fancy beer glass - it is stemmed and shaped about like a brandy snifter, and holds just under 500 ml, and it is pretty much my favorite. It's the right size, and the stem and base are great for holding. The little Glencairn is going to be used less and less.
When I buy more glasses I will go with the brandy snifter size and shape - it seems ideal to me.
For an inconclusive discussion of how the composition of glassware might impact the taste see this thread: http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15252
I think glassware is one of the many things folks fuss over that really make very little difference. In my experience, the exception is glencairns. Because of the shape, the nose seems to much more concentrated than a rocks glass. As a result I can pick out a lot more aromas. This is usually a good thing, but sometimes off notes can come out, particularly in lower end offerings.
I have some sherry copitas that my wife and I bought years ago thinking they were wine glasses (what can I say? We were young and dumb). Anyway they are very similar to what you see the Scots using for nosing/tasting (those who aren't using Glencairns, anyway).
I use those pretty exclusively for my single malts but I find that bourbons and ryes can be pretty overpowering on the nose with those glasses, so I usually use a rocks glass for those.
Small brandy snifters can be fun, too, but again, good bourbons and ryes are pretty "outspoken" and don't seem to need a lot of help in terms of concentrating the aromas.
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