How much does the glass matter?

When it comes to enjoying a glass of bourbon how much does the vessel matter? You’ll find strong opinions regarding the shape and material of bourbon and whisky sipping devices. In fact looking at Kickstarter today there are 2 cups, one wood and one glass, that are raising funding and have surpassed their goal. Each makes bold claims as to the science behind why their design is better than everyone else’s. These are intriguing designs and may very well enhance the experience and enjoyment of your favorite bourbon. And that’s what choosing a glass should be about, enriching your experience through touch, sight, smell, and taste.

Choosing a glass is a personal choice, it’s part of the enjoyment of drinking a glass of bourbon at home or with friends.I prefer to have a variety of barware and select a glass each time I sample a new bourbon. The image at the top is a collection of glasses that I currently rotate. I find the wide mouthed rocks glasses to better accommodate ice balls while the smaller mouthed snifters are appropriate for sipping a spirit neat. Ultimately though it comes down to which glass I feel like picking up at a given time!

The process of enjoying your bourbon is even more important that the vessel from which you sip. When you’re ready to open a new bottle and take your first taste keep in mind the following points.

  1. Swirl – This will aerate the spirit, releasing the scents trapped inside and preparing it to be be experienced. Observing this process can give a hint as to the proof of the bourbon.
  2. Smell – Get your nose right in there, open your mouth, and breathe deep. Continue swirling and sniffing throughout your drinking experience. You should notice different scents emerge.
  3. Sip – Take an initial small sip and swirl it around your mouth for 5 – 10 seconds. This will acclimate your taste buds to this particular spirit.
  4. Sip again – Now it’s time to sip and enjoy your bourbon of choice until the glass runs dry.

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