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Many of you will chuckle at my naivete in this matter, but until very recently I had never used a snifter. While visiting the A. Smith Bowman distillery we sampled the bourbon out of snifters. I was amazed at how much they really do concentrate the whiskey vapors. Joe Dangler instructed me in the proper way to hold the snifter by its base and in proper swirlling technique.
Since there are no stores in my area that sell such things, I went to pubgear.com and ordered a set of four whiskey snifters for $20. They arrived this week and they are of good quality and they are a nice size. If you like to drink you bourbon on the rocks as I do the snifter is not quite right for that job. You can get ice cubes through the the top, but ice cubes look rather silly in a snifter and it just seems out of place.
I also ordered a "whisky blender's nosing glass" just for the hell of it. It is imported from Scotland so it was rather expensive at $24. It is quite thin and delicate, but it does a superb job of concentrating the vapors and directing them straight up the nostrils. This is a serious tool. Its just not good for drinking out of. Good enough for a tasting yes, just not the glass for a night of serious drinking.
For real drinking nothing beats a hand filling 12 ounce double old fashioned glass with a heavy base. Plenty of room for ice and lots of bourbon. Mine needs a refill.
Have Shotglass. Will Travel.
I'm glad to hear that you are going upscale - you'd be surprised how well a snifter contributes to the overall "look" when your pants are off. Way more "jet-setty" than a mixing bowl. Seriously, a nice little snifter can be an excellent all-around whiskey glass for the non-ice crowd. I can't abide ice, and I like to watch the way the body of a whiskey is reflected in its "legs". My drinking glasses have had, perforce, to be much less high-toned than most, given the environmental reality at our house, but I still have found a sturdy alternative to your old-fashioned glass. My wife found, in a thrift store, a couple of small, heavy glass snifters which were originally in one of those terrible mail-order cheese company gift packs. They were apparently full of some nameless cream-cheese food-like product. Their shape is that of a classic snifter - maybe a little rounder and wider-mouthed than a perfectly-scaled down brandy snifter - but that makes them better, in my opinion. They hold 4 oz. - a perfect size for a nice half-full pour, and they stand up to woozy dishwashing technique. We have 3 now - they cost maybe a buck each. I also have a commemorative nosing glass from a Whiskyfest, and I agree that it's great for smelling but not for drinking. Try hitting thrift stores - you might be surprised at what you find for bourbon-drinking there. Maybe you could also pick up some tasting pants, to be strewn about the neighborhood when you get rolling on a good new review.
Ralph you've come up with a great must have item for all true bourbon connoisseurs -- Tasting Pants! What a great idea! PubGear certainly doesn't have any of those. http://www.straightbourbon.com/images/icons/wink.gif
Have Shotglass. Will Travel.
Linn, I'd like to have a nosing glass but never wanted to shell out the money (rather spend it on bourbon). But I have accumulated some nice heavy glasses -- some of which I lbought last year at the Bourbon Festival -- which I always use for my bourbon. I actually do not like snifters as they concentrate the vapors too much. I agree with some writer who suggested that the alcohol can actully numb the nose a bit if it is concentrated -- that's why nosing glasses don't 'bend in.'
Now ya'll know that I'm no snob. But like you, I taste and sniff 'neat' but drink 'rocks.' My bourbon glasses serve both purposes.
And when drinking in bed I don't necessarily need pants.
So Linn, fill us in on the "proper swirling technique"? Clockwise or Counterclockwise? Does it matter whether I'm in the northern or southern hemisphere? How many revolutions per second?
I too enjoy a snifter for sniffing and a big glass with lots of ice for tasting. As for pants, well that depends on where I'm at......
<A target="_blank" HREF=http://home.kc.rr.com/mashbill/>http://home.kc.rr.com/mashbill/</A>
Bill I should think it would be clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern, but I'm new at this snifter stuff. One thing I can tell you is to be sure to swirl one R.P.M. lower than the speed required to generate the centrifugal force necessary to overcome the boundries of the snifter. Slinging bourbon all over God's Creation is an easy thing to do, so hold down those R.P.M.'s!
Have Shotglass. Will Travel.
Over the past six months, I've greatly expanded my glassware. I like to change glasses to get different experiences with the same whiskey. I even do "glassware verticles" sometimes. I generally drink without ice. Contrary to rather spending my money on bourbon (like most of you I spend plenty) I think great and diverse glassware is a small price to pay to experience a great bourbon better or different. Here are my reviews of my favorates:
1) "The Blender's Malt Glass" by Glencairn Chrystal (mine are from Whisky Magazine). This is now my favorate glass. It's also a good value at 5 pounds for a chrystal glass. It is my favorate nosing glass. It seems to someone stregthen some of the lighter notes without making the stronger ones overpowering. This provides me with a broader bouquet filled with distinct character. The palate experience would probably be my number two. It creates a broad taste that is probably enhanced by the nose. Handfeel is also great--confortable and firm.
2) Reidel Single Malt Glasses, hand blown (very expensive). These proved the best palate experience for me. The spirit flows across the tongue bringing out flavors I would miss with other glasses. The nose would probably rank 3 or 4. Because I was more of a palate than nose man, these were my favorate until getting the Whisky Magazine glasses above. I don't really care for the handfeel. The stem gets a bit in the way and they are too delicate.
3)Kusac chrystal. Very good nose, very good palate and very good handfeel. The flared lip (like the Reidel's) helps the pour and seems more comfortable for nosing too me.
4) Reidel Single Malt Glasses (machine made). Good nose, good palate, handfeel similar to handblown but at least not quite so delicate.
5) Ardbeg glasses with covers. Very good nose, good palate, good handfeel (although I'm not fond of the stem). These are fun. The cover is great for maintaining the bouquet. I do prefer chrystal to glass though.
6) Maison du whisky (large size). If I had the small size (which I've been trying to find!) I would probably rank it higher. The nose becomes a bit too intense for me. I do like it for lighter spirits though and for nosing at different distances. The palate is fine and the handfeel is very good.
Pardon much of this note being a cross post.
No No J.D. that's quite all right.
Is #6 - Maison du whisky also known as 'The Pur Glass? If so I too have been trying to get a pair. What I like best is that it is stemless. I just don't like stemware - too damned dainty for me!
It's too bad that you didn't or couldn't attach a photo of the different glasses. You sound knowledgable enough, but I'm clueless. Better draw me a picture.
Have Shotglass. Will Travel.
Yes, the Maison du Whisky is the Pure Glass. I share your distaste for stems. Even though the Glencairn has a stem it is more of a wide heavy base that has a great handfeel and is not delicate at all. The Kusacs are also stemless. They look a lot like the Pure Glass but with a flared rim similar to the Reidel SMS glasses. This was the only one I could not round up a photo of. It used to be available (as was the Pure Glass) on the Pubgear site, but no more. I don't know how to get pictures into a posting, but here are the sites for the other glasses.
Glencairn "The Malt Blender's Glass: http://www.glencairn.co.uk/
Reidel SMS glasses (the picture would look the same for both the handblown and machine made glasses. The handblown are thinner and have a "sharper" rim which pours onto the tougue better: http://baraccents.com/riedvinsinma.html
The Ardbeg glasses are made exactly as the Glenmorangie glasses: https://www.glenmorangie.com/shop/product_pages/product.asp?code=glass
The Maison du Whisky Pure glass (my 3 orders from this site seem to have been ignored?): http://www.whisky.fr/index.php3?rub=1&partie=1
I also agree that the right glassware can contribute to the drinking experience. I have found, however, that over time I have chosen types of glassware for some specific whiskeys. That is for the bourbons I drink regularly, I tend to reach for a certain type of glass each time. For example, for the drink after work I have a crystal decanter with Makers Mark and drink it with matching "on the rocks" glasses. For extra-premium whiskeys such as Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve or Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, I prefer to drink out of a snifter. I guess I like to be able to smell the wood in the finer bourbons. For whiskeys like Wild Turkey 101, Jim Beam Black, or George Dickle No. 12, I prefer a heavy double shot glass.
I believe I am matching the whiskey with a type of glass that I feel goes with character of the whiskey. Of course, all this is personal preference and many of my choices are because I normally drink bourbon neat. Also, my glassware may change depending if I am enjoying a drink at home with my wife or sharing a drink with a guest in which I would probably serve in our crystal glasses.
Obviously, the key is still the bourbon, but the choice of glassware can improve or decrease the drinking experience.
I have managed to get a pair of the medium size Pure Glasses (from Maison du Whisky). This is now in a dead heat for my favorate glass overall, just behind the Glencairn. It has the best handfeel of all my glasses. The nose develops almost as well (but differently) than the Glencairn. The palate is about as good as the Glencairn, which surprises me because it is made of such thick chrystal.
Although I still think the larger size Pure Glass has some deficiencies (previously noted), my friends who drink bourbon on the rocks like it because it easily accomodates the ice. I also suspect that the way it concentrates the nose helps counter-balance the way cold ice can contract it.
AAAHHHHH! Now I know John Dube actually knows more about glasses than whiskey! Nothin' wrong with that in my book. ( Hey where the hell is my book anyway ??? http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif ) J.D. I've an idea for a glass that'll make you grab your ass (with both hands!). My stepson does computer aided design. I've got a great glass in mind that no one makes. Perhaps he can help me design it. What I have in mind is a very happy glass that feels good in the hand and feeds the nose just right and sips like a babe at his mother's breast. Yeah J.D. I'm thinkin' on a glass.
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