Guide to the perfect Whisky Glass

It’s World Whisky Day on 19 May 2018 and to help you get the most out of your whisky, we thought we’d put together a Guide to the Perfect Whisky Glass.

Importance of the right Whisky Glass

Whisky glasses are designed to enhance the aroma, taste, and overall enjoyment of whisky. The size, shape and style of the glass can enhance the ability to draw out the subtle nuances of a whisky:

  • Colour – light gold, bright copper or rich amber. Different colours can indicate the type of oak cask and the length of maturation.
  • Body – light, medium or full body. Or thin, light, thick and full mouth feel.
  • Nose – burnt sugars, nuts, fruits, smoky or chocolatey. Nosing can indicate a whisky’s flavour.
  • Palate – rolling the whisky backwards over the tongue to reveal the flavours, tastes and sensations as the whiskey covers different taste buds.
  • Finish – the time the flavours remain on your palate.

For novices, the size, shape and style of the glass won’t impact greatly on the taste, aroma or enjoyment of whisky. For the more serious whisky connoisseur, the shape and style of the glass is important for ‘nosing’ – placing one’s nose into the glass to smell the aromas of the whisky. A whisky glass that has a bulbous body that narrows to a funnel shaped top is perfect for nosing.

So let’s look a few different styles of whisky glass and what they bring to your whisky enjoyment.

Glencairn whisky glass

The Glencairn whisky glass’ roots lie predominantly in the traditional nosing and tasting glasses used by master blenders. The Glencairn glass’ shape – bulbous body narrowing to a funnel shape with a short fat stem – is perfect for whisky and is designed to enhance the overall experience from start to finish including the very important, nosing and tasting. If your customers are serious about their whisky and like it neat, then this is the glass to use.

Tulip Glass

The Tulip glass has a similar shape to the Glencairn – a bulbous body that narrows to a funnel top. Perfect for nosing, the Tulip glass delivers the whisky on the right part of the tongue. Its long stem prevents the drinker’s hand from coming too close to the nose.

Snifter glass

Since the days of Gentlemen’s Clubs, the Snifter glass, also known as the Balloon, Brandy Bowl or Cognac Glass, has been the glass of choice for the consumption of dark and aged spirits. The Snifter Glass has a wider body than the Glencairn and is often designed so they can be laid horizontal to allow air onto a greater surface area of the whisky without any spillage. However, whisky connoisseurs believe the extra wide body and tight rim actually encourage the release of harsh ethanol vapours, which overpower and destroy the delicate aromas of the whisky.

Whisky Tumbler / Rocks Glass / Old Fashioned Glass / Lowball

The Whisky Tumbler, also known as the Rocks Glass, Old Fashioned, or Lowball, is the most commonly used whisky glass. With straight edges and wide rim, it’s not ideal for nosing, but is excellent to fill with ice and a dram of whisky, or for whisky-based cocktails. Its wide and heavy base makes it ideal for muddling cocktail ingredients. This is a timeless whisky glass for general use.


The big brother of the Whisky Tumbler, the Highball is the go-to glass for the world famous Scotch and soda. The larger volume allows for plenty of ice and mixer to be added to the base spirit. The Highball is a great choice for that long and relaxing drink.

Interesting things about whisky

To help you through World Whisky Day on 19 May, here are some interesting whisky facts.

  • Whisky spelt without the ‘e’ refers to Scotch Whisky. Whiskey spelt with an ‘e’ refers to everything else.
  • Whisky in Gaelic reads ‘uisge beathe’, which means ‘water of life’.
  • Blends make up more than 90% of whisky consumed globally. A single malt Scotch is a blend of whiskies from one distillery whereas a blended Scotch includes whiskies from multiple distilleries.
  • Spirit destined to be whisky is not allowed to be called whisky until it is at least 3 years old. Until then it is referred to as ‘new-make’ spirit.
  • Whisky does not age further once bottled. Therefore a whisky bottled in 2010 as 10 years old is not 20 years old in 2020.
  • Whisky stored in barrels gradually evaporates at an approximate rate of 2% a year. This is referred to as the famous ‘angels’ share’.
  • Whisky contains more than double the flavour components (congeners) of its nearest competitors – cognac and rum.
  • Johnny Walker was a grocer in Kilmarnock in the mid-1800s who specialised in blending tea, until he decided to try his hand at blending whisky.

Service starts here

Members of our team have been working in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years. We can help you choose the right Whisky Glass for your venue. Call us on (02) 9558 5199 send us an email via or complete our online form to ask a question or request a quote.