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  1. #1

    Does shape make a difference?

    I'm new to the forum and also new to bourbon tasting, so my question is: Does the shape of the glass make a difference? Right now I'm drinking from a straight sided highball/old fashion glass, what you'd get in a bar if you ordered a bourbon. Would a glass that curves inward or outward make a difference in how the bourbon tastes, or is it more for aesthetics? I realize part of tasting is the nose, and it's certainly easy enough to stick your nose into a highball glass.
    Last edited by Ziggy925; 12-24-2013 at 11:50.

  2. #2
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    Re: Does shape make a difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy925 View Post
    I'm new to the forum and also new to bourbon tasting, so my question is: Does the shape of the glass make a difference? Right now I'm drinking from a straight sided highball/old fashion glass, what you'd get in a bar if you ordered a bourbon. Would a glass that curves inward or outward make a difference in how the bourbon tastes, or is it more for aesthetics? I realize part of tasting is the nose, and it's certainly easy enough to stick your nose into a highball glass.
    It is certainly subjective. Once I am familiar with a whiskey I tend to like a single old fashioned glass (a small size of the most typical old fashioned glass which are usually a double). But if I am tasting something new then a glencairn or other slope sided glass is my typical preference. I think the nose does help inform the palate and you lose something if you don't have the ability to fully appreciate it.

    With that said you can use any old glass in a pinch!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  3. #3
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    Re: Does shape make a difference?

    Only in women.

    Sixteen characters.

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    Re: Does shape make a difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by TunnelTiger View Post
    Only in women.

    Sixteen characters.
    Which is also subjective!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  5. #5
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    Re: Does shape make a difference?

    I notice a difference if I'm trying to get to know a whiskey from a rocks glass vs a Glencairn. No scientist here so I'm not sure the real reason (hell, could be their marketing bullshit attacked my subconscious, eh!)
    Gary
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    "Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough." - Mark Twain
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  6. #6
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    Re: Does shape make a difference?

    The glass can make a big difference. Try different sizes and shapes and see what you like best. I like the glencairn glass. I also like tall glasses like a collins glass, or a large goblet usually for water, beer, or wine, with the sides curved in at the top. I find tall and straight works well too. Short and straight I find to be the worst.
    "Sat down to my supper twas a bottle of red whiskey" -Dire Wolf

  7. #7
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    Re: Does shape make a difference?

    In my experience the 'tulip' shape of a Glencairn or any similar glass conducts the vapors to the schnozz better, so gives a better sensory experience. ...Usefull especially when analyzing or doing some really serious tasting. Also, a high-proof dram can be hard to nose in a short glass (irritating to the 'old-factory'). Giving the alcohol-vapors a chance to evaporate a bit by using a narrow, tall glass like a champagne flute or even a Grappa glass can ameliorate that, and lead to a more satisfying experience.
    All that said; anything that doesn't leak will get the fluid to your nose and mouth, and will get the job done.

  8. #8
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    Re: Does shape make a difference?

    All good points.
    One thing to consider is your drinking style. Personally I enjoy the process of nosing a rich spirit and I spend much more time nosing than I do tasting, so for me its a no brainer, narrow top/tulip shape for savouring a good pour and a rocks glass for knocking back/on rocks where I dont nose much (the dilution and drop in temperature dont do much for vapour generation)
    It did take me a good couple years before I fully appreciated the glencairn, I think if I had tried using one at the begining of my whiskey 'career' the intensity may have been overwhelming.

  9. #9
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    Re: Does shape make a difference?

    I prefer the Glencairn then the stemmed Ridel whiskey glass. While on the subject when nosing hold your nose in the glass and inhale through your slightly open mouth.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

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    Re: Does shape make a difference?

    JMHO and I'm sure I am in the distinct minority on this one but I have come to prefer a larger more open glass, slightly inward curving, straight or with a outward flair all work. A better description might be a slightly scaled down rocks glass. Lets the pour open up and frankly my nose fits and it doesn't feel as fussy, I enjoy the Bourbon more. With the alcohol and bold scents found in most Bourbon noses using a Glencairn or similar to concentrate the aromas seems overkill to me. Scotch and Canadian juice might need to be concentrated to pick up the nuances on the nose but not so much with Bourbon.

 

 

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