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Best whisky glass 2023: Our favourite whisky glasses for every occasion

However you drink whisky, make sure you serve it in the best whisky glass for the job

If you’re a fan of whisky (or whiskey), you’ll know that the best whisky glasses are a must if you want to bring out those rich, smooth flavours. Not sure if you like whisky? Then you’ve probably just not tried it in the correct shaped glass yet. It’s amazing how much difference it makes to have the complex aromas concentrated by your nose and the harsh ethanol stifled by the glass.

Whisky glasses also make great gifts and, whether it’s cut crystal glass or a personalised set, luxury glassware is something people will treasure for a lifetime. They’re perfect to impress guests when you’re entertaining and, because they’re so small, they won’t take up much space in the cupboard.

Not sure where to start? Our guide to the best whisky glasses will help you find some great options for neat sipping, cocktails and more.

And if you’re running low on the spirit itself, fear not because we’ve been working hard to find the best whisky and best bourbon to enjoy alongside your new glasses.

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How to choose the best whisky glass for you

What different types of whisky glass are there?

Tulip shaped/copita: The tulip (or copita) glass originated in Spain and was traditionally used for sampling sherry. It resembles a small white wine glass, with a bulbous base and a narrow rim which makes it great for nosing whisky and other dark spirits – when you swirl whisky in these glasses, the aromas are concentrated around the rim and the harsh ethanol vapours are stifled at the bottom, enhancing the overall experience. The stem, other than looking elegant, is used to keep any smells that might be lingering on the hand away from the rim, so as not to interfere with your enjoyment of the whisky.

Glencairn: Much like the tulip glass, the Glencairn is an excellent shape for nosing and swirling. The only real difference is that, rather than a thin stem, this glass has a short, solid base. This makes them more convenient for storage, less difficult to break, and weightier to hold. Essentially, they’re the modern counterpart to the tulip glass, specifically dedicated to drinking whisky neat.

Whisky tumbler: While the wider rim of a tumbler isn’t ideal for neat whisky, it’s perfect for whisky on the rocks or a whisky-based cocktail. The simple shape of a tumbler allows the cocktails to speak for themselves and looks great with garnishes too. What’s more, tumblers can be used to serve any drink – whisky or otherwise – making them a staple for every home bar.

New kids on the block: Various glassware brands have released whisky glasses that don’t fit the traditional mould, such as the NEAT glass with its flared rim, and the Peugeot Saveurs glass with its chilled, domed base. They’re all designed to bring out the aromas in different ways, and they’re beautifully crafted so, if you’re looking for a talking point at your next party, these glasses should serve you well.

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How should whisky be served?

There are so many different ways to enjoy whisky. If you’re drinking whisky neat, choose a glass designed for nosing and swirling such as the Glencairn or Peugeot glass.

These styles of glasses are also perfect for trying another traditional method of whisky drinking – gradually adding drops of water to neat whisky. This can help to open up some of the more delicate flavours and keep the burn at bay if it’s a particularly strong whisky.

If you prefer your whisky slightly chilled, it’s best served on the rocks in a tumbler. As the ice melts, it has a similar effect to adding drops of water, while making the whisky itself more refreshing to drink.

You can also use whisky in a variety of cocktails, such as an old-fashioned, a mint julep or a Manhattan, or as a long drink – it tastes great mixed with ginger ale or lemonade. These drinks are best served in a large whisky tumbler or modern-style glass, with plenty of ice and a garnish.

How much should I spend?

This will depend on what you’re using the glasses for, as well as the quality of the glassware itself. As such, glasses for entertaining at home can vary hugely in price. A standard, soda-lime glass Glencairn can set you back just over £5 per glass, whereas a crystal Glencairn costs around £20. The more adventurous drinkers who want to experiment with modern glassware will need to splash out a little more, as these tend to be pricier than traditional-style glasses.

You might be asking yourself why you’d spend more on crystal when a standard glass does the job. While a soda-lime glass is perfectly okay shape-wise, and the material doesn’t change the taste of the whisky, crystal glass is much stronger. This means it can be used to make glassware with thinner rims, making them more enjoyable to drink from. We think crystal looks a lot nicer too.

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The best whisky glasses to buy in 2023

1. Glencairn Cut Crystal Whisky Tasting Glass: Best cut crystal whisky glass

Price when reviewed: £30 (for one) | Check price at Amazon

The Glencairn was developed by the Scottish glassware brand of the same name, with the aim of creating a glass that whisky could call its own. Borrowing its shape from a copita glass, the bulbous base and thinner rim of the Glencairn will bring out the delicate aromas of whisky. The base is nicely weighted and the glass has a lovely, elegant feel. This elegance is further amplified by the finely hand-cut leaded crystal.

It’s definitely an investment piece, so if it’s a little too extravagant for your needs, you can get a similar drinking experience with the more affordable plain Glencairn glasses – they still have the same iconic shape, without the delicacy of hand-cut crystal. Both versions are dishwasher-safe and presented in a gift box, making it a great gift for whisky fans.

Key details – Material: 24% lead crystal; Finish: Mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal; Capacity: 170ml; Rim diameter: 46mm; Dishwasher safe? Yes; Gift boxed? Yes; Price per glass: £29.95

2. John Lewis Sirius Crystal Glass whisky decanter and tumblers: Best whisky glass set

Price when reviewed: £80 (for six glasses plus decanter) | Check price at John Lewis

Whisky lovers will be delighted to receive this nostalgic, vintage-style whisky glass set. It comes with six tumblers, which have a gorgeous pressed design, giving the same effect as cut crystal at a more affordable price. The set also includes a decanter, which has the same finish as the glasses, as well as a large glass stopper. Decanters don’t really serve a purpose for whisky, as they do with red wine, but they do provide a charming 1920s aesthetic.

Better still, the Luxion glass used to make this set is resistant to going cloudy, no matter how you wash them, so they should retain their sparkle for years to come. The set is also recyclable and made in a carbon-neutral factory in Italy, making these glasses a little more environmentally friendly than other mass-produced options.

Key details – Material: Luxion lead-free crystal glass; Finish: Pressed glass; Capacity: Tumbler 310ml, decanter 750ml; Rim diameter: 116mm; Dishwasher safe? Yes; Gift boxed? No; Price per glass: £13.33 (includes decanter)

Check price at John Lewis

3. Peugeot Saveurs Les Impitoyables: Best whisky glass for nosing

Price when reviewed: £39 (for one) | Check price at Amazon

You may think this glass resembles a conical flask from a science experiment, but it’s surprisingly easy to drink from and does an excellent job of releasing the whisky’s complex aromas. Just like other nosing glasses, it has a bulbous bottom and a thin rim. The glass itself is delicate and thin, making it perfect for special occasions. However, unlike its classic counterparts, it has two distinctly different features.

First is the cooling metal base, which is cooled in the freezer for two hours before use. When you’re ready to use it, simply place the glass on top of the base to cool the glass ever so slightly without watering down the spirit as ice would.

The second feature, a domed base, separates the liquid at the bottom of the glass, working with the cooling base to stifle harsh ethanol vapors and lift the complex aromas. This means that when you smell the whisky, you get the full aroma rather than a hit of alcohol.

The only drawback is the price: £39 for a single glass is pretty steep, but if you’re looking to boost your whisky-drinking experience, then it’s a great investment and an even greater talking point. Alternatively, if you prefer room-temperature whisky and would rather avoid the icy base altogether, then you can purchase the glass without the base here.

Key details – Material: Glass; Finish: Smooth; Capacity: 380ml; Rim diameter: 53mm; Dishwasher safe? No; Gift boxed? Yes; Price per glass: £39

4. Elysia large tumblers: Best budget whisky glass

Price when reviewed: £10 (for four) | Check price at Dunelm

These dishwasher-safe whisky glasses are made from affordable soda glass, but you’d never know it just by looking at them. They’ve got a vintage-style pressed design, a weighty base with a ridge that makes it super comfortable to hold, and the slightly thicker glass makes them far less breakable.

Given that they’re tumblers, they aren’t perfect for nosing whisky, but they would work perfectly with a whisky on the rocks or an old-fashioned, adding a touch of elegance without the price tag of real cut-crystal glasses. In fact, you could serve up pretty much any spirit, cocktail or mixed drink in these.

Key details – Material: Soda glass; Finish: Pressed glass; Capacity: 450ml; Rim diameter: 84mm; Dishwasher safe? Yes; Gift boxed? No; Price per glass: £2.50

Check price at Dunelm

5. Anton Studio Designs Manhattan Whisky Glasses: Best whisky tumblers

Price when reviewed: £24 (for two) | Check price at Not Just Jugs

Designed with a rounded shape and flared base, these whisky tumblers from Anton Studio have a modern, stylish look. They’re made with hand-blown, thin glass and their weighty base is shaped to fit nicely in the hand. The curved shape of the glass makes it great for swirling the whisky to release its aromas and while it’s not the best glass for nosing because of its wide rim, it was much better than other straight-edged whisky tumblers we tried.

If you take your whisky on the rocks or want a comfortable glass to serve up whisky cocktails in, then these are a great option. You can also buy matching wine, champagne and gin glasses, all of which share the same thick, flared stem.

Key details – Material: Glass; Finish: Mouth-blown, clear; Capacity: 350ml; Rim diameter: 75mm; Dishwasher safe? No; Gift boxed? Yes; Price per glass: £12

6. Kalinko handmade tumbler set: Best handmade, recycled glass whisky glass

Price when reviewed: £50 (for four) | Check price at Kalinko

For the environmentally conscious out there, these tumblers are a must-have. Made from recycled glass collected from construction sites and drinks companies, they’re hand-blown by local artisans in Myanmar. Kalinko sells their work around the world, keeping the local industry alive and providing work for skilled people.

Sustainability aside, these glasses are also packed with character. Each glass in the set is slightly different from the next, because the traditional glass-blowing technique leads to organic little ridges and bubbles. They’re available in three colours: dark blue, amber and clear, and they look beautiful when they’re out in the sun. As with all tumblers, these glasses can be used for any drink, but we think they work well with a refreshing whisky on the rocks or a tall whisky and ginger ale.

Key details – Material: Recycled glass; Finish: Hand-blown, coloured glass; Capacity: 300ml; Rim diameter: 70mm; Dishwasher safe? Yes; Gift boxed? Yes; Price per glass: £12.50

Check price at Kalinko

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