It used to be quite common for American men to come home after a hard day’s work and pour themselves a glass of their favorite whiskey. The experience of sipping on your favorite drink at the end of the day is hard to beat. If you want to get the most out of your whiskey, you are going to need the right glass for the job.

There are a wide range of whiskey glasses on the U.S. market, and most are short and wide. Many people might think all whiskey glasses are the same, but there are many different shapes and designs. They could be made of glass or crystal, while some models are thicker and taller than others. We have put together the following guide to help make sure you get the right glass for you.

Key Facts

  • Just like wine, whiskey is a “living beverage” and its color and flavor are affected by the glass you pour it in. A good whiskey glass is going to help you better appreciate this drink’s complexities.
  • Short, wide glasses are typically best for drinking whiskey. Most are made out of crystal, though there are glass ones as well
  • Tulip-shaped whiskey glasses with narrower mouths and bulging centers are designed for tasting. These are designed to hold and disperse aromas better, enhance a whiskey’s flavor, and provide better all around appreciation of the different wood in which a whiskey was aged.

Ranking: The best whiskey glasses on the U.S. market

We have put together the below list of five of the best whiskey glasses available on the U.S. market. Each one has unique characteristics, so spend some time examining each to make sure you get the right one. Each one has something different to offer, while all of them provide great value-for-money.

No. 1: Glencairn – Whiskey Glass (4 Set)

Anyone who knows whiskey knows that the Glencarin Whiskey Glass is one of the most beloved and revolutionary whiskey glasses ever made. It should be on any American whiskey lover’s list of the top 5 glasses on the market. It won the 2006 “Queen’s Award for Innovation” and is widely considered to be the “official whiskey glass.” It is made from transparent, high quality crystal, and features a short, elegantly-crafted base stand. When filled with your favorite whiskey, it just feels like whiskey was meant to be drank from one of these.

With this particular product you get a 4 pack, so you can enjoy your favorite whiskey with friends and family. Designed to bring of the full flavors and aroma of any whiskey, just fill this glass with 1.5 to 2 ounces of your favorite scotch or whiskey and enjoy. This is one of the best glasses on the market for concentrating aromas and letting you get the full nose (every subtle scent) of your drink. It is easy to hold, and it made so that you don’t have to touch the part of the glass where your whiskey is located while grabbing and picking it up.

No. 2: Venero – Crystal Whiskey Glasses (4 Set)

Venero Crystal Whiskey Glasses are stylish traditional tumblers from which to drink bourbon, Irish whiskey, cognac, and scotch. They are crafted out of the highest quality lead-free crystal out there, giving you a product that sparkles and shines brilliantly in the light, bringing out the full beautiful color of your drink of choice. The thick sides and base are durable enough that you don’t have to constantly worry about breaking these glasses, and you can toast and set them down comfortably. The extra thick walls also ensure that your drink stays at the appropriate temperature longer. They are safe to go in the dishwasher and are guaranteed for life.

A great, affordable option for bringing some elegance to any bar or dining table, these glasses are sure to get people talking and drinking at parties, weddings, family events, and even just nights in with friends. These are great sized glasses for drinking straight up, or for making mixed drinks. You don’t just need to stick to scotch with Venero glasses. They are great for rum and coke, gin and tonics, vodka sodas, and any other cocktail under the sun. The luxury box they come in also makes this a great set to give to someone for Christmas.

No. 3 : Mofado – Premium Whiskey Glasses (2 Set)

Mofado makes some really nice glasses, and their Premium whiskey Glasses are a great addition to any bar or glassware. They are all hand blown using the best quality, lead-free crystal and, weighing in at over one pound, these hefty glasses feel amazing to hold and drink from. You can tell these are a quality product the moment you take them out of the box, from the weight to the brilliance and clarity of the material. These glasses are specially made to be heavy duty for those whiskey lovers that like to put big, oversize cubes into their drinks. Keep in mind, however, that these are not the ideal glasses for people with smaller hands.

These are terrific glasses for anyone who enjoys gin and tonics, vodka cranberries, rye, rum and cokes, and any other cocktail and mixed drink you can dream up. If you aren’t completely satisfied with your purchase within thirty days, you can return them for a complete, hassle-free refund. These classic design whiskey glasses are sure to look great in any glassware collection, and can be used for any occasion. If you are looking for top-quality glasses that look great on any table, at any time of the year, then Mofado’s Premium Whiskey Glasses (2 Set) are a nice option.

No. 4: Norlan – Whiskey Glass (2 Set)

Norlan’s Whiskey lass offers a nice, modern take on the traditional whiskey glass, that is a bit more stylized, but still does what it is supposed to. The double-walled borosilicate glass has a concave outer rim that makes sipping any drink comfortable and easy. It is also made with true whiskey lover and enthusiasts in mind. The specially designed inner protrusions are made to reduce ethanol burn, so you get a cleaner, purer-tasting liquor. You also get Norlan’s microfiber polishing cloth included, so you can make sure your glasses are always at their sparkling, brilliant best.

This glass was made by a man who knows whiskey: master distiller Jim McEwan. Under his guidance, this glass has been made to deliver the most refined whiskey-drinking experience possible. One sniff of your whiskey and you will understand why as much effort went into creating this glass as it did. This glass can be used for whatever whiskey, or mixed drink you want, but keep in mind that it was specially designed for drinking whiskey neat.

No. 5: Bavel – Rock Style Old Fashioned Whiskey Glasses (6 Set)

Bavel’s Rock Style Old Fashioned Whiskey Glasses 6 set is made for entertaining and parties. The sleek modern shape still retains virtually all of the famous rocks glass shape that is so famous in American popular culture. Each glass holds up to 11 ounces of your favorite whiskey (or other drink) and looks fantastic on any dinner table or bar. These high quality stemless glasses are made with lead-free crystal, so you can sip safely and confidently. A heavy base and straight, clean lines make this a highly durable and stable whiskey glass.

Bavel has been making fine drink ware for years, and these traditional whiskey rocks glasses are no exception. Sturdy enough that you can drop ice cubes in without fear of breaking the glass, and meeting hotel and service industry regulations and quality standards, these glasses are sure to be a hit with whiskey drinkers everywhere. The price point is also hard to beat. For under $20, you get 6 great whiskey glasses that you can bust out for any event or occasion, and that are sleek and fancy enough to impress even the most hardcore connoisseur.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about whiskey glasses

Now that you know just how many different types of glasses there are to choose from, finding out more about their unique features will help you choose the best one for you.

Whiskey glasses retain aromas, enhancing the flavor of the liquor and allowing you to appreciate the nuances and aromas of the wood.
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It is absolutely essential you understand the importance of drinking from a good whiskey glass when savoring your favorite drink. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions by consumer to help you make the right choice.

What is a whiskey glass exactly?

Whiskey glasses feature low and wide designs specifically designed to keep the flavor of the drink unchanged. A good whiskey glass augments the taste of the liquor by helping to oxygenate it, while the aromas remain intact. They must be lead-free, and the best ones are typically crystal over glass.

Depending on how you wish to consume your drink you will need different glasses for the job. If you are trying to savor as much of the unique flavor and aroma as possible, a traditional short and wide, or flower-shaped glass are the best suited. If you are just making a cocktail or mixed drink, the glass type isn’t as important.

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Did you know that the Scottish spell it “whisky” while the Irish spell it “whiskey”? Here in the U.S., the vast majority of products on the market are spelled the Irish way, with the ‘e’.

Why drink from a whiskey glass?

A whiskey glass is made specifically to help conserve the flavor and aroma. A whiskey develops its unique flavors and aromas because it is left to age in different types of wood barrels. If you want to appreciate all of these subtleties, you really have to consume it in a traditional rocks glass.

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Remember that a plastic whiskey glass is likely going to have an adverse effect on the flavor of your drink.

What types of whiskey glasses are available out there?

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of different whiskey glasses out there. The number of different designs can be hard to choose from, so we’ve come up with the below compilation of the most common types according to their design or main function. Some are better suited for tasting, while other, more intricate models are made for drinking your whiskey neat. Others are better if you plan on making mixed drinks.

As we mentioned earlier, you should choose your glass based on how you like to drink whiskey, as each glass is designed for a specific use. Don’t drink whiskey from a standard or Collins glass unless you are making a cocktail. The below table summarizes the different glasses and uses:

Type of glass Use
Riedel Best for whiskey on the rocks or mixed drinks
Glencairn Best for tasting
Scotch Malt Whiskey Society Great for tasting
Snifter Better aroma concentration and flavor enhancing. Ideal for really savoring whiskey.

Why should I buy a whiskey glass?

The human palate is only capable of identifying the following 4 main flavors: salty, sour, bitter, and sweet. The human sense of smell, however, is able to recognize around 32 distinct aromas. It makes sense that our ability to smell greatly affects how we perceive taste. A whiskey glass helps augment the taste of the drink by optimizing the smells.

Wider glasses allow a Whiskey to oxygenate more, which maintains the distinct aromas intact for longer. Crystal glasses help to maintain the flavors better. Below is a list of the different pros and cons of the different glasses:

Advantages
  • Luxurious and attractive
  • Enhances the flavors
  • Conserves the smells
  • Designed to avoid spilling
Disadvantages
  • Heavy
  • Costlier than standard whiskey glass

How much do whiskey glasses cost?

A good whiskey glass is typically a bit more expensive that just plain old glasses for drinking other beverages. With that in mind, as whiskey has become more popular with American consumers, a wider range of more affordable glasses have appeared. While the higher end glasses like Glencairn and Riedel can cost up to $20, cheaper, though still good glasses cost considerably less.

Quality and price are positively correlated. If you opt for cheap glasses, be warned that you are likely getting poorer quality glass and crystal that will likely break much easier.

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Bourbon whiskey is undoubtedly the most famous American whiskey.

How should I use my whiskey glass?

As previously touched on, different models of whiskey glass are made for different uses and consumption. You don’t need to buy a book on the matter (unless you want to), but a bit of insight will serve you well when you purchase your glasses.

Whiskey glasses are elegant and luxurious. They are very useful and can be washed in the dishwasher without problems.
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One thing to know for sure is that you shouldn’t fill a whiskey glass to the top. You need room for ice, and enough space for the drink to adequately oxygenate.

How much do whiskey glasses weigh?

The quick answer to this question is: it varies. Different models have different weights, but in general, whiskey glasses are compact with a heavy base. Furthermore, they typically won’t hold more than 3.4 ounces, and they weigh around .11 ounces. The range of options out there is nearly endless.

Shopping Criteria

Below we will take a look at some of the most important criteria to consider when shopping for a whiskey glass. It would be terrible to spend time and money buying something you don’t even want to use a few weeks down the road. Below are the things to have in mind when getting the product best suited to you and your needs:

  • Type of use
  • Price
  • Capacity
  • Design and weight
  • Reviews
  • Personal use

Type of use

This aspect will determine which type of glass you should buy, but that doesn’t mean you can omit thinking about the materials and design of the model. Whiskey, vermouth, and vodka are all highly different liquors. Each one has its own unique glass ware. Sometimes the sheer variety on offer makes getting the best one a little complicated.

We’ve already explained that whiskey glasses often present a similar low and wide design, with the diameter of the mouth being equivalent to the full height of the glass. As you are now fully aware, this is so that the liquid oxygenates better and lets the drink move through the glass.

Price

You are always going to be sensitive to the price of something when purchasing it. Like anything, whiskey glasses vary in price and you need to factor in what you can afford to spend before choosing a product.

If you find a quality model at a good price, don’t think twice!
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Modern whiskey glasses, however, come in a range of prices, with many good quality ones that are completely affordable. Even the high end brands have great products that are not outrageously expensive.

Capacity

Different glasses, and styles of glasses come with different capacities. The thickness of the crystal and the manufacturer are two things that influence the capacity. Some glasses look like they hold more because of thicker material, but they might actually hold less.

There’s really no set or standardized value for this, and every brand designs and sells different sizes, so you will have to do some searching. You will need different sized glasses based on how you like to drink your whiskey.

If you prefer your whiskey neat or on the rocks, small glasses will work well, but you’ll need a bigger one if you’re making mixed drinks.

Design and weight

Some American consumers might believe these two factors are just part of the decoration, but they can have a significant influence on the price. Some people want glasses that look unique and original, while others want that classic, tried-and-true look. There are great looking glasses with different designs and weights.

Most whiskey glass designs keep to a particular, classic format, while others are more modern looking. Heavy bases are one of the defining features of a whiskey glass, but many are often lighter. A heavy base makes the glass more sturdy when you place it on a surface.

Reviews

While you don’t want to just blindly follow the herd, there are many benefits to paying attention to reviews. This is especially true online, where many people come together to give their opinion on specific products. Many of these people bring a lot of experience and knowledge to bear, so it is a good idea to factor in what other buyers have to say.

If something is generally well-received by many people, there is a good chance its a worthwhile purchase. If most people have bad things to say about it, it might be a good sign something is not worth trying. Comments might also contain extra useful information that is not part of the official product description.

Personal use

To really savor and drink whiskey as it was intended, you will need the correct glass ware, there is no way around it. The wide design is necessary for properly oxygenating the beverage, which is how you conserve and enjoy all of the complex, bold flavors. Different sized glasses are intended for different drinking needs and purposes.

Tulip-shaped glasses that are taller and have narrow mouths are specifically made for tasting whiskeys. The extra length and the wide center better concentrates aromas. This enhances the flavor. These glasses (like the Glencairn Glass) are usually pricier.

Summary

The main thing to keep in mind is that whiskey glasses are made to make whiskey drinking more enjoyable. If you are a true lover and appreciator of whiskey, you will need one of these glasses to really enjoy the subtleties of the distillation and aging process to the fullest. These glasses also just look and feel sophisticated.

Always apply the above criteria to your purchases. A glass’ material, price, and design cannot be ignored. Always have them in mind when choosing your product.

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