Is a whisky tasting glass worth the money?

by Paramount Digital

Whisky glasses

You drink champagne from a champagne flute. Enjoy your favourite vino from a wine glass. Swig German beer from a stein. Sip gin from a balloon. Martinis from a coupe… so why wouldn’t you drink whisky from a whisky tasting glass?

It may not seem important. But the style of your glass can actually have a huge impact on your experience of a particular dram. And choosing wisely is one of the quickest and easiest ways to level up your whisky game and enhance your enjoyment of the water of life.

Read on to find out why.

Whisky glasses are game changers

Good whiskies deserve to be celebrated.

Forget about sloshing them into the first glass you find in your cupboard. Whether you’re just enjoying a weekend tipple, or hosting an at-home tasting session using one of our whisky tasting sets, high-quality single malts should always be served up in style. No excuses.

But choosing the right glassware is about more than simply how it looks on your table.

Whisky glasses can also significantly enhance your drinking experience, having a notable impact on the nose, palate and finish. Several styles are now available. But to ensure your dram can be fully appreciated, typically, they’re all designed with two key features:


  1. A tapered rim

Small in diameter and slightly tapered, the best whisky glasses have a cleverly-shaped outer edge – which concentrates the spirit’s subtle aromas towards the top of the glass. The effect of this is three-fold.

Firstly, it reduces the smell of alcohol – helping to prevent ‘nose burn’.

Secondly, it heightens the smell of the whisky itself and makes it considerably easier to nose.

Thirdly, it improves your sense of taste. Just like with all food and drinks, the perception of a whisky’s smell is very closely linked to the perception of its flavour. Therefore, by improving nosing, the tapered rim also improves your ability to detect flavour profiles as you drink.


  1. A round body

Most whisky tasting glasses have a round bowl-shaped body.

Not only does this help to focus aromas towards the nose, it also allows the whisky to be effortlessly swirled for aeration – enhancing its overall taste, mouthfeel and finish.


A quick guide to the best whisky glasses

In answer to the original question, yes – as experienced and knowledgeable fellow whisky drinkers, we truly believe that a whisky tasting glass is worth its weight in gold. But which style should you choose?

Best whisky glasses


aka., the rocks glass or lowball.

To this day, the classic tumbler is still one of the most common whisky glasses.

It doesn’t have the trademark tapered rim, so it isn’t ideal for nosing. But its wide diameter does help to distribute the aromas equally – allowing you to smell the whisky as a whole. And it’s a popular choice for muddling traditional whisky cocktails, such as an Old Fashioned or Whisky Sour.



Based on the copita – a traditional glass used to sample sherry – this tulip-shaped receptacle has become a top choice for master distillers, blenders and whisky connoisseurs all over the world. 

Think of it like a cross between a wine glass and a glencairn.

The long stem prevents your hand (and its smell) from coming too close to the nose, whilst its bowl shape and narrow rim help to concentrate aromas. Perfect for noting the nuances of single malt.



Designed by Raymond Davidson of Glencairn Crystal Studio in 2001.

The glencairn is the modern, less ‘showy’ relative of the copita. It shares a very similar tulip shape, with a wide belly and narrow outer edge – yet has a much shorter and heavier stem.

Created to overcome some of the issues associated with a tumbler; the glencairn is a fantastic tasting glass, which focuses the aromas and allows you to really appreciate the subtleties of your whisky.



One of the earliest alternatives to the tumbler.

Designed by Riedel Glass Company in the early 90s, a thistle-shaped whisky glass has relatively straight sides – with a long body and a top outer edge that turns out very slightly.

Unlike the copita and glencairn, it focuses more on the palate.

Not only does it successfully dissipate the whisky’s taste – whilst simultaneously reducing the problem of nose burn – its tapered rim also directs the dram towards the front of your tongue. Therefore allowing flavours such as creaminess and sweetness to be highlighted.



Perfect for sipping and savouring your whisky neat. The NEAT glass is a new kid on the block.

It was actually developed as a result of a mistake made at a glass-blowing factory. When the peculiarly shaped vessel was tested, it was found to be perfect for whisky tasting – successfully directing harsh alcohol smells away from the nose, whilst accentuating the whisky aromas.

An ideal choice for anyone who struggles to pick out subtle flavours.


Whisky tasting set available at Whisky Tasting Company


Which is the best whisky tasting glass?

That depends on the circumstances.

If you’re just enjoying a casual drink at the end of a long week or socialising with friends, there’s nothing wrong with a whisky tumbler. After all, there’s a reason it’s been used for centuries!

However, if you’d like to really appreciate the taste of a high-quality dram – such as those featured in our whisky tasting sets – then it’s definitely worth investing in a specialist whisky glass. Specifically, one with the two key features highlighted above.

Our personal favourite is the glencairn. But as long as it has a tapered rim and round body – whether you’re an absolute beginner or full-blown connoisseur – we guarantee, it will help you to pick out the unique aromas, identify the flavours, note the finish and (most importantly) get maximum enjoyment out of each tipple.

Why not put our theory to the test?

Buy a whisky tasting glass today. Treat yourself to a whisky tasting set from our collection and see how much of a difference it makes. We’d love to hear your opinion, so be sure to tag us on social media using @WhiskyTastingCo. And if you have any questions or would like further advice on the best whisky tasting glass to pair with our sets, feel free to call us on 01743 247220.