Any port in a storm, the sailors say, and any drinking vessel when the spirits demand, I say. I’m not a fussy drinker, especially in an emergency. I loved Chieftain’s Cigar Malt, albeit from flimsy plastic cups, cramped up in Air Chance cattle class en route from Havana to Paris. I arranged a party during a 12-hour layover at Charles De Gaulle, where my touring companions and I drank Veuve Clicquot from paper cups. I can handle mild inconvenience;)
But what when one wants to get it right. What does one do when there is no rush, no shortage of time nor implements, simply a need to taste whisky in the best way possible? It seems that the world (not South Africa, yet) has moved to the Glencairn Glass as the official glass of the Whisky Magazine festivals. I have a few of these glasses at home and use them when I want to really focus on what I am drinking and write tasting notes.
In 2001 Glencairn Crystal identified the ideal glass for whisky. Raymond Davidson designed it some 25 years earlier. The plans remained in his drawer until his sons got hold of them and moved ahead with the project. The final, perfected design was the result of a collaborative effort by Davidson and the master blenders from the five largest whisky companies around the world
They say the glass was “Designed to help educate the consumer and encourage the average whisky drinker to enhance the experience through nosing their whisky. The design of the glass has its roots in the traditional nosing glasses used by blenders around the world. The tapering mouth allows an ease of drinking not associated with traditional nosing glasses whilst capturing the aromas on the nose. The wide bowl allows for the fullest appreciation of the whisky’s colour and the solid base is designed to be easy on the hand.
Today the glass can be found in use by every distillery in the UK & Ireland and many more around the world, from craft distillers in the USA to Far East brands such as Kavalan.”
An interesting aside was that I thought that the best glasses were from lead crystal. I was wrong. Crystal glass contains a metal or other oxide that dramatically increases the refractive properties making it more brilliant and “sparkly” than ordinary glass. Glencairn moved away from lead-crystal because of the heal risk in using lead. Now the oxides include zinc or potassium – for safety and clarity.
Speak to Paul from Aficionados for more info about the glass.