Editor’s Note: This product was provided to us as a review sample by Ragproper. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
The folks at Ragproper have a contemporary take on a classic product. The history of the trusty pocket flask is a rewarding subject for the curious drinker. Looking into it myself, I was surprised to learn that glass had been a popular material for personal flasks in the years preceding Prohibition. When the 1919 Volstead Act managed to accomplish pretty much the opposite of its stated intention, the flask transformed almost overnight from a dandy’s vanity object into a borderline necessity for American drinkers.
Designs changed to become more discrete and durable, leading to the iconic curved metal flask still common today. Ragproper suggests that the materials of the more distant past may be better suited to today’s consumer. They sell glass flasks with removable silicone sleeves in several colors, as well as bound in more expensive, but quite stylish, leather. These flasks prove easy to clean, have minimal impact on the flavor of the liquids they transport, and provide a small opening in the silicon cover which allows one to keep tabs on the contents.
There are quite a few smaller accessories to go along with the flasks in the Black Silicone Glass Gift Set which I demoed. Black plastic and metal screw-top lids are included, they are lined with cork but silicone liners are also included. This provides a lot of optionality. The lids are interchangeable based on one’s stylistic preference and silicone liners can replace the cork if it becomes worn out or damaged.
The downside here is that these are a lot of small parts to keep track of. I’m a reasonably well-organized guy but I honestly expect to lose at least one of these pieces before I get much use out of it. Personally, I’m pickier with respect to functionality than looks so I’m partial to the “captive-top” style but others may like to have the choice between the metal and plastic looks. Ragproper’s promotional materials warn that cork may take on and later add flavors to the contents of the flask if damaged and suggests replacing it with silicone. This is good information but sends a sort of strange message–if silicon is the recommended material, why use cork at all?
All this is to say that there are more components, and options, than I think that I need.
The major exception to those comments are the silicone funnels included in the set. To my mind these provide the highest convenience-value of any item in the package. The wide-mouth leaves some room for error when filling up and a small notch in the funnel allows displaced air to escape your flask, preventing booze-wasting, messy bubbles if you’re overzealous with your pour. Like everything else in the package, these couldn’t be easier to clean. I would recommend picking a set of these up even if you aren’t in the market for a new flask at all.
The combination of convenience and durability makes it easy to believe that these could catch on. While a little bit bulkier, there is an argument to be made that durable glass is a functionally superior material. These products eliminate the most common inconveniences in filling or cleaning, and you can store your booze for long periods without worrying about contaminated flavors.
Personal taste will play a big role in determining whether Ragproper’s flasks are for you. I’ve kept a series of stainless steel captive-top flasks since my college days and have become very fond of the classic, almost stereotypical design so the new look of these materials took me a second to process. The silicone sleeves come in a variety of colors to suit your taste and the leather bound options sure look good in photos.
The biggest question is how you individually feel about the transparent section of the cover. This “window” allows for an easy ocular patdown of the contents of your flask, giving you and your companions the chance to admire the color or look of the quality spirits it holds. Because we are all packing the good stuff when we drink on the go… right?
Perhaps glass flasks will return to their former prominence and someday young people will roll their eyes when I tell them that “back in my day we had to shake our flask around to check if it was empty.” For the time being, I’d consider Ragproper’s glass flasks a nice but by no means necessary quality of life upgrade over more traditional, utilitarian designs.
(Just a note about portable liquor that I hope goes without saying, but I feel like I should say anyway– Please be safe, and be safe to be around. When carrying a flask, you need to be aware of your local open-container laws, to be respectful of other people, and stay off the road. If you are struggling with alcohol dependence please do not be afraid to ask for help or make use of the vetted resources available to you in order to find a compassionate, non-judgmental professional who can support your recovery.)