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What You Should Know When Buying Scotch Glasses
Selecting the perfect set of Scotch Glasses is important for a true Scotch connoisseur. Scotch is considered the most complex of spirits and the perfect glass will help you enjoy it that much more. Scotch Glasses come in several styles and it is important to select the correct one. If you prefer your Scotch neat you will want to look at the Glencairn Glasses or the Riedel Vinum Single Malt Scotch Glasses. On the other hand if you enjoy your Scotch on the rocks you should take a look at the Waterford Bar Ware. I hope to help you enjoy this guide. Feel free to comment below and share it with your friends.
As a little history, Scotch whiskey is a type of whiskey particular to Scotland (hence the name) available in 5 categories: single malt, single grain, blended malt, blended grain, and blended. Among these differing styles, each whiskey has several traits in common, being that they are all aged at a minimum of three years in oak barrels, contain a minimum of 40% alcohol, and most of all, are produced within the Scottish boundaries.
As far as glassware is concerned, Scotch aficionados gravitate towards two major Scotch glasses. The first — and potentially most popular, but that is arguable — is the tulip-shaped scotch glass, more officially recognized as the Glencairn glass. While several subtypes of Scotch glasses are available, they are all exemplified by this outstanding piece of artistic glassware. The wide base of the scotch glass is designed to contour along the human hand. It has elegant curves that allow the outside world to view the rich colors. It is designed so that the hand holding the scotch glass mildly stimulates a minor evaporation, sending a small plume of aroma dancing through the curves of the top. This creates a bottling effect, sending these dark, woody scents into the nearby atmosphere. The high walls of this glass also allow for some swirling of the Scotch in order to better view the color and sample the fragrance of the beverage.
On the other hand, the tumbler is a much more common and versatile Scotch glass than it’s slightly more sophisticated compatriot. With a flat (as opposed to curved, a la Glencairn) base and rounded mouth (as opposed to tulip-shaped and tapered), this holder is much more common for cocktails. Another version of the tumbler is the ‘Old-Fashioned glass’ specifically designed for — you guessed it — Old Fashioneds and straight liquor ‘on the rocks’.
A happy medium does exist, however, for the straight-laced aficionado and the average Scotch consumer wanting to become more educated on the subject. There is a style of Scotch glass that combines the curved base and the tapered mouth of the Glencairn style, with the heavy base and wider mouth of the Old-Fashioned glass. The artistry behind these Scotch glasses merely combines the attributes of the Glencairn, yet the formation prevents the mouth of the glass from allowing ice cubes.
If one were to arrange them in increasing order of perceived sophistication, the list would be as follows: tumbler (more widely used for ‘on the rocks’ beverages, cocktails, and others), slightly tapered Glencairn/tumbler hybrid (think of it as the shape of a tulip not fully bloomed yet, with an almost bursting bulb), and the Glencairn.
The two former scotch glasses are more versatile, as a percentage of Scotch drinkers prefer a few drops of water with their beverage to release the full, woody flavor of the barley inside. The open mouth, allowing the ice cubes for the ‘on the rocks’ pour, is perfect for this. As the cubes themselves melt, they provide the water preferred by the drinker. The general consensus, however, is that the ice cubes cool the whiskey, masking some of the heavier flavors from the taster. A system from heaven for the beginner, yes?
Simultaneously, the thicker base and edges on the shorter, stockier tumbler scotch glasses allow for (theoretically) rougher play. This means that they can be tolerated by the standard, rowdy bar crew without worrying over breaking a stem or lip, as in the case of the Glencairn Scotch glass. The craftsmanship behind this glassware is on par with the fine tuning of a sports car. Within these Scotch glasses lie both a science and an art form, peacefully coexisting together.
These scotch glasses exist for a reason. The man who drinks Scotch does not simply drink it because it’s the nearest beverage. He drinks it because of the history within the bottle, the combined artisanship of the distiller, the craftsmanship of the barrel, the glass so finely molded to the human form. He consumes this because of the natural flavor that reminds him of better times, gives hope for better times ahead, and because this beverage acts as the perfect mood enhancer. Essentially, what it provides is quality. There is no shortcomings in Scotch whiskey; there are only preferences and choices — minor flourishes and nuances that waft from Scottish distillery to Scottish distillery as elegant as the aromas escaping the glasses in which they eventually reside. There are no problems with Scotch whiskey — merely adventures to be had.