Malt Advocate Whisky Awards “Industry Leader of the Year”: Glencairn Crystal
You might have a great whisky, but if you’re not drinking it out of a proper glass you won’t fully appreciate it. This is true for any fine beverage. That’s why there are brandy snifters, sherry copitas, glasses designed specifically for Cabernet Sauvignon, and so on.
A decade ago, when it came to whisky, there was very little glassware to choose from. Most consumers drank their whisky out of a traditional sturdy tumbler or “rocks” glass. More “refined” individuals drank it out of a brandy snifter. In the industry, master blenders were using “nosing glasses” that narrowed toward the top, but they are fragile to the point of not being practical for everyday consumer use.
What we needed was a whisky glass that was sturdy like a tumbler, but was shaped like a nosing glass. The few designs that were on the market didn’t (in our opinion) incorporate both concepts.
About a decade ago, Glencairn Crystal worked with leaders in the whisky blending industry to design a glass that would properly capture all the nuances of a fine whisky, while also being functional. And that’s exactly what they did. It has a sturdy, masculine base. The side isn’t thick and clunky — you can see all the whisky’s attributes, and it narrows toward the top to capture the whisky’s aroma. (As any blender will tell you, you can smell more than you can taste, so this is very important.)
The Glencairn Crystal whisky glass is now used by nearly all the major whisky companies in all the major distilling countries. It is also the leading whisky glass at various whisky festivals worldwide (including Malt Advocate’s own WhiskyFest). Glencairn didn’t just make the glass. They tirelessly promoted it to the industry and whisky consumers so it could be properly recognized and appreciated. (Okay, and maybe so they could make a buck or two in the process. Fair enough!)
True, there are other very nice whisky nosing and drinking glasses on the market, but none have become this much a fixture in the whisky world. And for good reason — it’s a great whisky glass. Congratulations to Ray Davidson, managing director, and everyone else at Glencairn for what you have done for whisky.
The “Distillery of the Year” will be announced here, tomorrow.