There is often great debate in the alcohol world about whether the glass matters. I fall into the category of folks that think it does matter as to the taste and smell. Yes, I have a complete set of Reidel wine glasses. I have the Reidel whiskey tasting glasses but find their Hennessy cognac glass to be far superior for nosing and tasting whiskey. I have two Norlan glasses which are great for high proof whiskey. I have 28 some odd Glencairn glasses. A bunch of free Woodford Reserve glasses (came with fifths), my Old Forester 75th Anniversary of the repeal of prohibition glasses, a Buffalo Trace one, a Pappy Van Winkle one, and 18 plain Glencairns. My sweet wife who loves and knows me so well got me a set of six of Waterford Crystal’s take on the whiskey tasting glass, which they call a footed tasting tumbler.
So, I decided to try one out with one if my go to Bourbons to see how it stands up, Stagg, Jr.
First of all, the glass is truly a thing of beauty. I already have some Waterford Old Fashioned and Brandy glasses, so I appreciate the style and look of their stuff. The heft on the glass is very substantial. As far as taste and smell I would say it is very close to the Glencairn, although the broader opening dissipates the alcohol from the nose a bit, but less so than the Norlan. Far superior to the Reidel tasting glass. Given the cost and looks, I would recommend this glass way over the Norlan.
Is it better than a Glencairn? Well, you can get six Glencairns for less than the cost of a Waterford glass. The taste differential is modest at best. But, I will tell you the Waterford glasses are truly elegant and cry out to have your good stuff poured into them. In my opinion this glass adds to the experience.
Caveat: one small detail hit me. The design of the glass sort of obscures the legs of the whiskey. So, if I am trying a whiskey for the first time, I would go with a Glencairn or a copita like the Reidel Hennessy glass. But, after that, I would go with the Waterford for the good stuff when you are enjoying what you have already tried.