The start of your love affair with Single Malt Whisky –
Getting into Single Malt Whisky can be daunting if you don’t know where to start! The following series of short articles are designed to empower you with enough non-biased information to begin your journey into the ‘Water of Life’.
Importantly, this is your journey and what you like or love, dislike or despise will be yours and only yours. Whilst it’s both a private and a sharing drink, it’s not about other people’s attitudes, views, perceptions or judgements. We’ve found that it’s a lot easier to share whisky when you have a solid base of knowledge and this series aims to provide that base.
- The glass that you choose for your Single Malt Whisky is actually more important than many people think. Choosing the right glass for the type and style of whisky, as well as for the climate and indeed the event, will either connect the drinker to the spirit or oppose the marriage. The nose, taste and finish of any whisky will alter dramatically with the surface area to volume of the glass, the temperature, shape and degree of aromatic concentration that the neck provides.
- Size – As a slow sipping spirit, Single Malt Whisky should be poured into a glass with plenty of space, but not too much! An average dram (the amount you would pour a friend) is usually about 30 to 50mls. The glass shouldn’t be filled right up, or an overly large serving poured because the character of the whisky is released as it gently moves around the glass, interacting with air and slowly changing temperature. Too much space equals too much interaction, and vice-versa for small glasses. Although don’t be afraid to refill many times over! To give a gauge, most whisky glasses are between 200ml to 350ml in total capacity, yet only ~30mls are filled in a standard pour.
- Shape – There are 3 main types of Single Malt Whisky glasses available to drinkers. These are the Tulip or Copita, the tumbler and the balloon or brandy glass.
Tumblers are by far the most traditional, diverse and relaxed style of glass available for Single Malt Whisky drinkers. Whilst a massive array of shapes and sizes exist, they are generally flat bottomed, straight-sided and the neck is open or tapered out. As they don’t intensify the spirit through a concentrating shape, the connection between drinker and whisky remains extremely calm. The open body and neck shape allows the spirit to spread out and open up, allowing the air to soften the aroma and taste profile of the spirit. The added advantage of these glasses is that the open neck allows the use of ice, mixed drinks or cocktails, proving to be a very diverse and useful glass. If it’s a casual, relaxed drink that you’re after, the tumbler is for you. Want to pick up some Cheif’s Son Tumblers? Simply click here and check out our range.
Tulip or Copita –
With or without stems, these glasses comprise a round bowl-shaped body, with a narrower neck. These have become the choice of professional distillers and wine producers around the world due to the ability to easily swirl the spirit for composition, to release aromas and to concentrate these for nosing and tasting. From a drinker’s point of view, these glasses can easily be warmed by hand and allow easy swirling of spirit to coat the glass and release aroma, however, they do represent a significantly more intense nosing and drinking experience over a relaxed tumbler option. For beginners any narrower, smaller or more restrictive tulip glass can significantly enhance the effect of alcohol on the nose and hence alter the drinking experience. Fortunately, there are now many styles and sizes of these ‘concentrating’ glasses and hence a less restrictive, social drink can be achieved. If you are interest in this particular style of glassware you can grab one of our very own here.
Balloon or Brandy Glass –
The brandy glass is a timeless, large balloon-shaped wine glass, with a narrow restrictive neck. Similar in design to a Copita, the large round bowl creates a significant swirl, spreading of the spirit, hence air exposure, creating a very intense nose to any spirit. This is generally not a good thing for novices and can often create overpowering aromas. On the other hand, they are truly stylish glasses and work very well in a cool environment, where the spirit can be hand warmed and mulled over.
Completely personal, Single Malt Whisky is all about being you. Whether you’re having a private drink, celebrating with family or catching up with friends, whisky truly expresses who you are. We love beautifully cut crystal, we love brand names or logos etched onto glasses, beautiful floral or family etchings and stunning bare flint glass. These don’t change the whisky, just the connection that you make with the Single Malt Whisky and the people in your company.
And there you have it, part 1 of our HOW TO DRINK AUSTRALIAN SINGLE MALT WHISKY series. If you are after some high-quality glassware, why not check out our shop and grab yourself our best ‘Starter’ Whisky The Tanist while you’re at it.