This little trip has been extremely fun and I have found out a lot about my palate and it has changed the way I will drink whisky in the future. I will certainly pay a lot more attention to what glassware I will use depending on mood and surroundings.
Duncan Taylor Dimensions Mortlach 1993 54.1%
So after trying the whisky in 4 different glasses at both cask strength and at 46% here are the tasting notes.
Nose: Vanilla wafer, hint of marzipan with a touch of lemon meringue pie or lemon drops. Some fresh hay and a whiff of an old barn door underlying everything.
Palate: Oat biscuits, citrus cream – key lime pie with vanilla bean Hagendaaz back dropped with a tang of lemon zest and salted cashews.
Finish: Citrus comes through even more over time with the vanilla fading away to be replaced by a much more savory note.
Below is my final take on all four glasses with each having its merits and potential deficiencies. Ranking 1 to 4 with 1 being the best.
# 1 – The Glencairn Scotch Whisky glass
Glencairn has pretty much been my go to glass in the past and I still think it delivers possibly the best experience you can get for nosing any whisky. On the palate however it seemed much to focused and did not allow me to pick out as many flavors as the other glasses without numerous tastes and extensive watering. Given that taste is at least equal to nose for a full whisky experience I will probably not use Glencairn as much in the future although with 20+ assorted Glencairn glasses in my whisky cabinet it will still be the convenient choice. Robust and strong, difficult to break and easily racks in the dishwasher it ranks high on the every day usage scale. Everyone should have a Glencairn in their arsenal. Chunky enough for ice and stones so a good all round glass that is not too expensive and will last a long time. Dishwasher is no problem.
Nose rank # 2
Palate rank # 4
Everyday use rank # 2
Whisky warming friendly # 4
Price rank # 2
# 2 – The Reidel Whisky Glass
The Reidel has always been a favorite of mine and gets a lot of use especially for any whisky that I want to really get into. The careful design really allows for a full experience of both nose and taste. It is however delicate and a little harder to warm so this affects the palate score a little. To be honest I thought this glass would fair better than it did in the competition and it was extremely close in both nose and palate to the Spiegelau. The expense of the Reidel and its fragile nature are points against it. You do definitely want one in your collection and I would if given a choice use it over a Glencairn on most occasions. Does not do well with whisky stones. Dishwasher is normally okay but be careful.
Nose rank # 3
Palate rank # 3
Everyday use rank # 3
Whisky warming friendly # 3
Price rank # 3
# 3 – The Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler
Due to being able to warm the whisky by really cupping both hands completely around the base of this glass I think that the nose and palate were a little better than the Reidel. The Spiegelau places the whisky in the same area of the palate as the Reidel but is much heftier and can easily handle larger ice cubes if desired and whisky stones are no problem. Dishwasher safe, patio safe and geek whisky tasting safe the Spiegelau I feel is the best all round glass for the price.
Nose rank # 2
Palate rank # 2
Everyday use rank # 1
Whisky warming friendly rank # 2
Price rank # 1
# 4 – Traditional Balloon (snifter)
The Brandy Snifter was the big eye opener as I had used it in the past very seldom and then mostly for Cognac. This glass scores highly in some aspects and poorly in others and should almost come with a safely label something like this …
Warning extreme whisky experience ahead, please proceed with caution!
To be honest it was amazing and by being a little patient and easing into it like lowering into a relaxing hot tub that has the temperature set a bit high the rewards are generous. The nose was amazing but had to be approached carefully. The palate was richer and more complex than any of the other glasses. It was made to cup in the hands and because the glass is thinner than the Spiegelau you can get a more immediate warming effect. Plenty of room for ice and robust enough for stones. It only ranked last on the every day use scale due to its size, expense and difficulty in cleaning. It takes up a quarter of the dishwasher if you want to try but is safer being hand washed. In a previous Blog I talked about whisky toys including a Death Star Ice Cube. This is the glass that could pull that off. It also lends itself really well to balancing over a cup of hot water to be steamed. There are many variations on this style of glass and you can spend as much as you want or pick up a bargain. It got the worst price ranking as I think in general you will want to make this a special purchase and buy a quality piece for your whisky cupboard.
Nose rank # 1
Palate rank # 1
Everyday use rank # 4
Whisky warming friendly rank # 1
Price rank # 4
So the final overall rankings are:
First place – Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler – 8 points
Second Place – Brandy Snifter – 11 points
Third Place – Glencairn – 14 points
Fourth Place – Reidel – 15 points
I would think, that if you don’t already, you should have all of these glasses in your cabinet. In much the same way as we have many different styles of whisky because we don’t want to drink the same thing all the time its good to have multiple glass options.
Send in your comments about your glassware experiences – let me know if you have found a particularly good whisky glass that was not part of this tasting.
Next week I am blogging about my recent trip to a big retailer in the US Total Wine and my “secret shopper” whisky aisle experience with the staff.
Cheers, cheers, cheers, cheers