The 12 Best Whiskey Glasses

Just as you would never drink gin out of a pint glass or wine out of a coffee mug, whiskey should be savored in the right glass. This is not just for reasons of appearance but whiskey connoisseurs would advise that certain single malts can only open up their full aroma when tasted with the right glass.

This might sound strange but once you have tried your whiskey with distinct glasses, you will understand that the glass can make all the difference between a good and an excellent whiskey experience.

Some are designed to bring out the best aroma in the spirit, while others can also be used for cocktails. Everyone who loves their hearty spirits has a well-stocked bar with a few different types of glasses.

From the shape of the whiskey glassware to its balance and weight, we get close up and personal with the twelve best whiskey glasses and find out what you need to know.

From their weight and balance to the material and shape, our guide to the best whisky glasses explores everything you need to know before you pour your favorite Scotch or Irish whisky.

OUR TOP PICK

Double-Walled Norlan Whiskey Glasses

Just from its modern design, you can tell that the Norlan whiskey glass is not your ordinary tumbler. The sleek shape combines the easy-sipping experience of tumbler glasses with the sophisticated technicalities of nosing glasses.

There is a lot of thought and development behind this glass design. Originally launched as a Kickstarter campaign, most of Norlan’s glass models were created with a 3D printer, fluid dynamic modeling and biomimicry.

Although this is definitely an unconventional approach to glass design, Norlan brought together the leading heads in the Scotch whisky world to create a modern and lightweight glass that is geared towards an exceptional whiskey experience.

This 7-ounce glass is hand-blown with a unique technique separating the inner and outer wall of the glass allowing to keep the heat of the hand away from the liquid.

We found the round, curved shape of the glass nestles perfectly into your hand while the clever tulip-shaped inner wall gently diffuses the beautiful aroma of the spirit.

Pros

  • Double-walled to keep your drink cool
  • Made from handblown glass for a luxurious feel
  • Easy to sip without tilting your head back too far

Cons

  • Hand wash only

What Buyers Say

Buyers of the double-walled Norlan whiskey glasses loved the unusual design and special tasting experience. They noticed that you can easily fit ice cubes through the opening.

EDITORS CHOICE

We continue with a more unusual shape, and a big statement. NEAT lays claim to the fact that their glasses are used for some major whisky competitions since 2012, as well as the go-to choice for serious taste makers and professional judges.

From our test, this is definitely justified: the heavier weight of the glass resembling antique crystal combined with the wide opening at the top allows this glass to amplify the characterful aromas of the spirit.

Particularly whiskeys with a delicate flavor, such as Japanese whisky, benefits from this unique design.

While the NEAT glass doesn’t have a double wall, it has been designed with a similar science behind it with ‘Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology’.

This helps to avoid any overpowering, nose-numbing ethanol scent while keeping the goodness of the whisky aroma from start to finish.

This whiskey glass can hold up to 4 ounces, and it is made with mouth-blown lead-free crystal which makes it a beautiful addition to your home bar.

Pros

  • Ideal for more delicate flavor whiskeys, like Japanese whisky
  • Made from mouth-blown lead-free crystal glass
  • Wide opening for a better aroma

Cons

  • Very delicate so needs careful handling

What Buyers Say

Buyers of the NEAT whisky glass noticed that it is very thin and can break when not handled with care. However, the unique shape allows also more subtle flavors of whiskey to come out.

BEST VALUE

Most whisky lovers will be familiar with Glencairn whiskey glasses. As the winner of the 2006 Queen’s Award for Innovation, this glass design is not just a superior shape but also excellent quality.

The Glencairn glass is a little smaller than most whisky glassware, and with a wider bowl at the bottom, it beautifully maintains the spirit’s aroma making it ideal for high-quality whiskey. This is something a rocks glass wouldn’t allow you to do.

The Glencairn 6-ounce glass is perfectly designed to show off the spirit’s color and character. For this reason, it’s also a favorite for standard taste testing at most distilleries.

Pros

  • Ideal shape to bring out the aromas
  • Safe to use in dishwasher
  • Cheaper than other whisky glasses

Cons

  • Smaller but heavier than most whisky glasses

What Buyers Say

The Glencairn whisky glasses are thin and lightweight which makes them easy to hold and sip. Customers also noticed that the mouth of the glass is too small to fit whisky ice molds.

RUNNER UP

Inspired by the sparkles of diamonds, the Dragon diamond whiskey glasses are not only beautiful to look at but their unique shape also helps to aerate your drink. With its resting angle at degrees, this glass is both spill-proof and anti-rocking.

This glass can hold 10 ounces of liquid which means it is one of the largest whiskey glasses we tested. A great benefit of the lead-free crystal glass is that it’s dishwasher safe and you can even put it in the freezer.

With their unusual gravity-defying design, the Dragon diamond glasses make the perfect gift for friends, family and whisky lovers.

Pros

  • No spilling
  • Large capacity
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Comfortable in your hand
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cons

  • Small opening allows less aroma to diffuse

What Buyers Say

The Dragon Diamond whiskey glasses feel sturdy and lie comfortably in your hand. These glasses are fine for ordinary Scotch whisky but too thick for spirits that have a more delicate aroma.

RUNNER UP

These old fashioned glasses are a traditional must-have for every bar. It’s not just an excellent whiskey glass but doubles up as a vessel for other spirits, too. Its large size means that it can fit Old Fashioneds as well as other cocktails.

The heavy weight with a thick base allows less heat transfer from the hand to the liquid, keeping your whiskey cool and tasty. The glass is made from lead-free crystalline and features a beautifully elegant design.

Waterford’s Marquis range offers more affordable crystal glassware than most other brands, but while it’s cheaper these glasses definitely have a lot of character. Whiskey distillers particularly love them for their weight which makes them ideal glasses to swirl. 

Pros

  • Weighted to sit comfortably in your hand
  • Great to swirl
  • Affordable crystal glass design

Cons

  • Hand-wash only

What Buyers Say

Buyers of the Marquis whisky glasses were impressed with the elegant design. They are a classic gift for whisky lovers.

RUNNER UP

This classic snifter glass is the perfect choice for aged whisky and spirits as it holds the bouquet of aroma. The glass shape draws out the true character and flavor of the whisky for you to sniff.

As a claim to fame, the Libbey signature whiskey glass is the official tasting glass of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. With its thick base and wide bowl, you can breathe in the aroma while swirling the glass gently.

Pros

  • Durable and stackable so they don’t take up much space
  • Made of lead-free Clear Fire glass
  • Designed with Kentucky bourbon in mind

Cons

  • Only comes as a set

What Buyers Say

Some buyers noticed that they look slightly bigger than expected. Customers loved that this is an official glass of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

RUNNER UP

Riedel Performance Spirits Glass

While Riedel also offer rocks glasses, their Performance spirits glass is one of the most classy designs. Holding around 7 ounces, this glass has a bowl with a light optic impact which increases the inner surface area to allow more aromas to escape.

The Riedel Performance spirits glass is focused fully on bringing out the beautiful flavor of the spirit, but it also makes an impression with its elegant and delicate tulip shape.

Pros

  • Can be used for wine, champagne, whisky and other spirits
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Elegant design

Cons

  • More expensive than other brands

What Buyers Say

Buyers felt that the glass was thin but definitely sturdy and wonderful to hold in your hand when swirling.

RUNNER UP

If you really want to give your whisky tasting experience a luxurious feel, the Tom Dixon Highball glasses are your best option. The mouth-blown glass and a hand painted copper band around the bottom make this glass the perfect addition for every party.

With 12 ounces capacity, these glasses are almost the biggest size you can comfortably hold in your hand. The functional shape and heavy weight prove that this is a high-quality glass from a premium brand.

Pros

  • Can be used for whiskey, Gin and Tonic, or cocktails
  • Large capacity
  • Luxurious mouth-blown glass design

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Thin opening

What Buyers Say

Customers loved the Tom Dixon Highball glasses for their large size and luxuriously elegant look. While these glasses are more expensive, they can be used not only for whiskey but gin and tonic as well as cocktails.

RUNNER UP

Well known for a range of porcelain and glassware, Villeroy & Boch stay true to their concept of high-quality products. Even if you already own a selection of shot glasses, these particular snifters are perfect for a more festive occasion. The even pattern and classic colors gives these glasses the style of true barware.

With 2.5 ounces capacity, they may not be very large but it means you can sip slowly and enjoy your favorite beverage for longer. These glasses do fan out slightly with a thin base and a wide opening to allow the aroma to diffuse.

Pros

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Available in different colors
  • High-quality crystal glass made in Germany

Cons

  • Although dishwasher-safe the color can wear off

What Buyers Say

Buyers of these shot glasses loved that they were made by the traditional and well-known brand Villeroy & Boch. The classic design fits into every bar.

RUNNER UP

The Maketh The Man whiskey glasses come in a beautifully presented black and gold gift box, and their classic look can complement every spirits bottle.

The art deco design adds a little bit of European flair to every bar, and with its 10-ounce capacity, they are the perfect size for every beverage.

Pros

  • Comes in a luxurious gift box
  • Affordable price
  • Art deco design

Cons

  • On the large side

What Buyers Say

Customers of the Maketh The Man whiskey glasses love the unusual design inspired by the 1930s.

RUNNER UP

The design of the Vinum whiskey glass from Riedel is the result of a workshop with a group of Scotland’s best master distillers, and you can see the thought in it.

Great for nosing spirits, we found this glass is excellent for those who are tasting through barrel samples, including whisky professionals and distillers.

The Riedel Vinum whiskey glass holds up to 7 ounces of liquid, and the thistle shape of the glass really allows you to smell the full flavor of the spirit.

Pros

  • Ice cubes fit through the opening
  • Elegant, classic design
  • Wide opening allows the aroma to diffuse

Cons

  • Pricey

What Buyers Say

Buyers of the Riedel Vinum whiskey glasses loved the design that would fit every party. They have found the glasses to be delicate but when handled with care they can last for a long time.

RUNNER UP

If you are looking for an unusual whiskey-related gift, this urban map whiskey glass offers the wow-factor. Designed by Boston-based Well Told design shop, made in Ohio and etched in New Hampshire, the glass has a true American spirit.

You can choose your customized city map, including Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. The urban map glass holds 111 ounces which means it’s big enough to enjoy your favorite drink for longer. 

Pros

  • Excellent gift for a whiskey lover
  • Unusual, customized map design
  • Great for everyday use

Cons

  • Not all cities are available
  • Although it states that it’s dishwasher-safe, it’s best to wash by hand

What Buyers Say

Buyers loved the design and use it as a gift to friends and family.

Buyers Guide - What To Look For In Whiskey Glasses

When you want to buy the right glass for your favorite spirits, there are a few things to look out for. The material and shape impact what your whiskey tastes like. Also the price and care for the glassware is a factor not to be missed.

The 12 Best Whiskey Glasses

Whiskey Glass Material

Generally, whiskey glasses are made of glass, although there are also other options available such as plastic, wood and metal.

However, the best way to drink your whiskey is still from a good quality glass or crystal vessel as they don’t impart any other flavors to your spirit. While all glass drinkware can be fragile, when you look after them with care you can enjoy these glasses for a long time.

Maintenance And Care

Just like a lot of fine glassware, whiskey glasses are usually not made to withstand the rough treatment by a dishwasher, and especially thin tasting glasses require much more care.

It’s always best to check the packaging for any advice on whether your whiskey glasses are dishwasher-safe or not. Usually, any glass hand-blown or mouth-blown needs gentle hand washing, and crystal glass also needs additional polishing after washing.

Price

Prices for glassware can vary widely depending on its quality and use. You will find that rocks glasses are usually quite budget-friendly, while the more distinct snifters come with a higher price tag. 

Before you purchase any glasses, consider what you are planning to use them for. If you want to use the glasses for a better taste experience with your finest Japanese whiskey, then a higher-end snifter is the best option. Or are you looking for glasses where you can mix your favorite cocktail?

Then you are better off with a more versatile rocks glass. And if you already know that you are prone to breaking glassware, the thin and pricey crystal glasses might not be for you. 

Find The Right Whiskey Glass Type

You do not just need to look out for the right material and price for your new glasses, but understanding what you need them for will also help you have a better taste experience.

There Are 6 Types Of Whiskey Glasses, Each With Their Very Own Character

Tumbler/Old Fashioned

A whisky tumbler, also called Old Fashioned, is an absolute must-have in every bar and drinks cabinet. While they are so versatile that you can use them for almost every drink, it’s best to use them for whisky on the rocks or cocktails. This glass’ flat base is ideal for mixing cocktails with whiskey, vodka and other spirits, and there is plenty of space for adding ice cubes.

Glencairn

Glencairn has shaped the whisky glass market with their own individual designs and shapes. Glencairn glasses are known as a favorite for seasoned whiskey drinkers and those who savor the taste of their spirit.

The particular Glencairn style of glassware was endorsed by the Scotch Whisky Association. A popular choice for everyone who doesn’t like stemmed glasses, Glencairn glasses are primarily used for drinking whiskey. They are a robust and stylish way to enjoy your single malt.

Tulip/Copita

A tulip or Copita glass is inspired by the traditional Spanish glassware used for sampling Sherry. Over the years it has become a popular choice for master distillers, blenders and true whiskey connoisseurs.

The thin steam and broad pedestal of tulip glasses are ideal for cradling whisky and even warming it slightly. Its long shape means that undesired, harsh aromas are further away from the drinker’s nose while the narrow rim concentrates the pleasant flavors. 

Highball

Highball glasses are traditionally favored by mixologists for longer mixed drinks. The length of the glass prevents any spillage and it also allows you to add more ingredients, fizz and ice. Highball glasses are also great for cocktails with whisky, soda and lemonade.

Snifter

Commonly known as Cognac glasses, snifters are an excellent choice for more distinguished whisky drinkers who wantt to encourage the release of harsh vapors without spilling the drink.

The individual design of snifter glasses also mean they can be used for spirits that should be warmed slightly. Whether you enjoy your drink chilled or not, these glasses are the top choice for savoring high-quality whiskies and whisky tastings.

NEAT

NEAT is not actually just a brand but its name comes from the science behind this glass design: Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology. Although this style of glass has seen a lot of development, the original design came about as a glass-blowing accident.

NEAT glasses are relatively new to the whisky market but their open-mouth shape diffuses sharp alcohol fumes and it allows the drinker to taste even subtle aromas. These glasses are relatively versatile, and they are ideal for whisky newbies as well as those with a long appreciation for traditional spirits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type Of Glass Is Best For Whiskey?

There are many different types of whiskey glasses but usually a rocks glass or whiskey tumbler is the standard choice for serving whiskey drinks. These whisky glasses hold between 7 and 10 ounces in capacity, and they can be used to serve plain whiskey, on the rocks, or in whiskey cocktails.

Why Do Whiskey Glasses Have Thick Bottoms?

The thick bottom of whiskey glasses prevents the whisky from being warmed by your hand. This keeps your drink cool for as long as possible.

While glass is a bad heat conductor and you can put ice into your beverage to keep it cold, whiskey connoisseurs don’t want ice in their drink. Ideally they want the whiskey to be slightly warmed so it released more of the aroma.

Why Are Whiskey Glasses Tilted?

The unique tilt design of some whiskey glasses helps you shake the whiskey evenly and it exposes the spirit to air. This helps to spread the aroma and you can enjoy all the different flavors your whiskey has to offer.

Tilted whiskey glasses also have the added bonus that they are spill-proof. However, not all whiskey glasses are tilted.

Mandy Winters
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