Does Bourbon Now Have Its Own Official Tasting Glass? - The Whiskey Wash

Does Bourbon Now Have Its Own Official Tasting Glass?

Long has the glass of choice for whiskey drinkers been the Glencairn glass. Other barware options exist as well, but the nature of the Glencairn makes it something perhaps a little more unique to this brown spirit than those other choices. Glencairn is going to be getting a run for its money though now from Libbey, an American glassmaker with roots stretching back to the early 1800s. This company has teamed up with the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) to introduce what’s being billed as “The Official Tasting Glass of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.”

The new Libbey glass, according to those involved, is designed specifically for tasting bourbon and “bringing out the best aspects of the signature spirit.” To this end it features what’s described as “a heavy sham, curved bowl, an ideally sized opening and fine rim.” It is from these elements that the glass is said to deliver “a multi-sensory, smooth bourbon tasting experience.”

Now, in case you think all of this is what normally sits on the floor of a uncleaned Kentucky horse barn, know that Libbey did what it calls “an in-depth one-year process” around designing this glass, which included input from unnamed master distillers, “Bourbon Barons” and other members of the KDA.

“The combination of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association’s expertise on Bourbon and our insights on glassware design and presentation led to a glass that makes the ultimate Bourbon tasting experience possible,” said Jerry Moore, senior category manager of beverageware for Libbey Inc., in a prepared statement. “We are proud to lend our expertise to this unique celebration of American ingenuity.”

Plans apparently call for the glass to be made available at participating distilleries throughout the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The glass already looks to be on sale as well through the KDA directly for around $8 each.

“Kentucky Bourbon is a complex, elegant spirit that can be enjoyed so many different ways,” added Adam Johnson, senior director of the KDA’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail Experiences. “We recognized the need for a specific glass to enhance the aroma, flavors and nuances of Bourbon, and we’re proud to partner with Libbey, America’s Glassmaker, to create the ideal version.”

About the author

Nino Marchetti

As the founder of The Whiskey Wash, I'm crazy about whiskey, I can tell you, and I aim to share this passion with you through this site. As for my professional background, I’m a writer and journalist by trade and an Internet dot-com veteran prior to that. My most recent venture prior to this was as the founder and editor-in-chief of EarthTechling, a leading consumer focused green technology news website. I also have an extensive collection of whiskies from both start up distilleries and centuries old operations in Scotland alike, sprinkled with some other odds and ends from around the world, that have provided me with a unique picture of what’s going on with this wonderful spirit.

  • Barry Davis

    First I wanted to point out the early then/than confusion in the article–or a typo if I’m kind. You wrote, “…the nature of the Glencarin makes it something perhaps a little more unique to this brown spirit then those other choices.”

    Of course that should be, “…*than* those other choices.”

    And second, I was going to dismiss the concept outright, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a fine looking glass. I particularly appreciate the flair at the rim. Although the rim diameter looks way too big for proper nosing.

    • Also, is it possible for something to be “more unique?” 😛

      Yeah, I’ll admit it is a good looking glass. If someone wants to send me one, I definitely won’t throw it in the trash.

  • StanG

    looks like one of those canadian glencarn glasses but with a foot

  • I would be willing to give it a try. But in all honesty, for me, the Glencairn really hit the sweet spot for overall whisk(e)y drinking. This new glass reminds me of a Canadian and Glencairn love child. We have also seen other “new and improved” glasses on the market, but frankly I find them to be marketing gimmicks more than actual improvements. Of course this happens in most other industries as well so why not with whisk(e)y? I would like to see a direct comparison photo between this (what I consider only a slight modification of a Glencairn glass) and an actual Glencairn glass.

  • Mike Vee

    Small Batch 1792 or Willett’s Pot Still Reserve. If you haven’t tried them you are missing out on some of the best bourbon for the money.

    • Luke Gleaves


  • Luke Gleaves

    This is nothing more than a marketing scheme, albeit one I’m shocked took them this long to push.

    There are plenty of good nosing glasses available. There is nothing distinct about bourbon that would make this better than any other nosing glass (Glencairn, Copita, etc), except as personal preference.

    I’ll spend my money on booze…there’s enough marketing gimmicks there to navigate without silly new glassware requirements.

  • gthorstenson

    BS. Men drink bourbon out of a glass, like a plain cylindrical 4 oz glass. No stems, no flares, no “sphere shaped chamber to capture the nose….” If that’s what you like, try brandy or wine, or some other fru fru drink. Did you ever see John Wayne drink whiskey out of a snifter? I didn’t think so……

    • A 4 ounce glass? I think I’d feel somehow even more silly drinking out of a half-sized highball glass.

  • Old Ezra 101

    I watch my friends with big noses trying to drink out a Glencairn glass. I will buy a couple so they don’t have to break their necks to enjoy a fine whiskey..

  • The Glencairn Glass is pretty much perfect for me but I figured it was only a matter of time before “America’s Spirit” had to have an American glass.