Personally, I think to the average enthusiast, the nose and taste differences are minor. If you’re just embarking on your exploration of scotch, whether the mouth of the glass tapers or not will not have a big impact. I think a perfect analogy is that you’re hearing the symphony and trying to find the stringed instruments and then the violin.
Whether you sit front row or back row, stage left or stage right, matters very little because it’s the first time you’ve heard a symphony.
That said, I think the whisky glass you use is important for other reasons.
First, having a special glass rounds out the experience, especially when the special glass costs only $6-8 (it’d be another issue if it cost $40!). By having a special glass you use for drinking scotch whisky, you elevate it from something that’s pedestrian to something that’s special.
You’re giving the whisky and the craftsman who made it the proper respect. The elixir sat in a barrel and aged for years. Can you imagine waiting 18 years? Or even just 12 or 10 years? Why not go the extra few feet, get a nice Glencairn, and enjoy it as the creators intended?
Lastly, the glass you use will have an impact on how much you enjoy it, even if it doesn’t change any discernible characteristics about the whisky. The value of a bottle of wine is affected by the design of the bottle and ratings are affected by the glass it was in when it was enjoyed.
And if all that didn’t convince you, I think one of my fellow Scotch aficionados, Allen, put it best in our Facebook group:
Would one eat a grapefruit with a soup spoon? Perhaps use a butter knife to cut the rib eye?
An old fashion doesn’t allow the proper shape for the aroma’s to dance, nor to reach you nose to allow your olfactory nerves to interpret the subtle aromas inherent in the juice.
Imagine aging a whisky 15/20/25/30 or more years creating a special elixir which your going to stick into a rock glass thereby offending the whisky gods or a brandy snifter with it’s bulbous girth.
However a nosing glass, a glencairn for instance (there are others) hold just the right amount of juice in it’s main body allowing the aromas to condense in it’s narrower neck to gather and expose themselves to you at the perfect opening not only for your mouth but your nose. Small enough to pass it along your nose the 1st time to introduce yourself to your expressions and then to become more intimate with it as you put your nose and senses deeper into the glass, at different angles and depths to envelope it with the many different types of smells.
Then of course what this glass in it’s whole of its shape does to enhance the taste of the juice. Properly allowing the alcohol burn off, the juice to breath within the shape of the glass bringing together the compleixities not to mention when and if you add a drop or two of water and the impact of opening up your aged elixir allowing the hidden subtle scents, flavors, sweetness,sourness, saltiness to show its hidden and mysterious self.
Or you could just use a rock glass or shot glass shoot it back
The man makes a great point! 🙂
Do you think the whisky glass you use matters? And what do you use?