A brief history of whisky glasses

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Distillers of whisky have experimented with different casks and woods to impart unique flavours in their beverages. In the same way, glassblowers have made various types of glasses to improve the flavour.

Engraved glasses make ideal presents for people who love whisky, and while debate may continue over the best shape of glass, few connoisseurs would argue that glass is not the best material in which to serve and enjoy the drink.

The 16th Century

In the 1500s, a drinking vessel for whisky known by the Gaelic name for cup, ‘cuach’, was the standard container for whisky. This wasn’t made from glass, but wood using staves. This shallow bowl design had small handles on opposite sides.

Craftsmen began modifying the cuach, changing the style of the handles, using different woods and adding patterns to the cup. A luxury form of the whisky cup was developed using silver. Craftsmen competed to create unique cups to attract customers, engraving intricate patterns in silver.

Cups made from silver became an important part of social gatherings where whisky was consumed. By the 17th Century, whisky was served at the beginning and at the end of social events, served in a small cup that held enough whisky for one gulp.

The 19th Century

The wide and flat cuach gradually began to be replaced by tumblers made from glass. Before the 19th Century, glass was a luxury material, but developments in glassmaking made it cheaper to produce. During this period, whisky glasses were mass produced.

The 20th Century

The 1990s saw a growth in single malt whisky appreciation and the belief that the type of glass used enhances the flavour. In 1992, whisky experts gathered in Austria to test 18 whisky glasses, each with a unique shape. They gave their feedback to Georg Riedel, who decided that the best glass had a truncated stem and an elongated thistle shaped-body. He convinced master whisky distilleries in Scotland to use this glass, which became known as the Riedel glass or vinum.

The Glencairn glass was first produced in 2001. Its shape is influenced by the nosing copitas used in Scotland’s whisky laboratories. The shape allows the harsh alcohol vapours to escape so that the full flavour of the whisky is experienced. The Glencairn glass is the vessel recommended by many whisky distillers. Whisky experts say that this glass enhances the flavour of the drink and is the perfect weight to hold, while its curves make it comfortable to hold.

Modern engraved whisky glasses

Today, a whisky tumbler with a thick bottom and straight sides is appreciated by most drinkers. For a more luxurious glassware gift, give a whisky glass made from crystal glass

What makes a whisky glass special is a heartfelt message and image engraved on it. The tradition of starting and finishing a social event with a gulp of whisky from an engraved whisky glass is still practiced today. Make any occasion a special celebration by raising an engraved whisky glass to make a toast.

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