When it comes to enjoying a fine whisky, choosing the right glass is half the battle.
A proper whisky glass helps unlock the subtleties of the flavor, and not only enhances the taste of the drink, but also the aromas, and fragrances. Extensive studies and research has gone into finding out what type of glass best displays and enhances the aromas of a fine whisky.
A spirit as sophisticated as whisky is not only enhanced by a glass, but also deserves to be enjoyed in a well designed vessel. While our guides have explored the many nuances of whisky glasses, we’ve found that one glass truly stands out from the crowd: The NEAT Glass.
The NEAT Glass is not only a darn-fine looking glass, it is the overwhelmingly perfect whisky glass to use for any occasion.
Discovered by Accident, Refined through Science
The NEAT Glass
The glass’ founder, George Manska, created the glass by happenstance during a glass blowing session. He noticed that the object he had created had a wide bowl that narrowed vertically, before widening again considerably towards the rim to form a large lip on the glass.
This drinking vessel, shaped like an exaggerated hourglass, sat forgotten for months. One day, with no other whisky glasses available, George poured himself a finger of fine scotch, and tested out his creation.
The rest is history.
It took 10 years and 52 different shapes, but eventually the NEAT glass’ characteristics were solidified to be the ideal glass for all spirits over 40% alcohol by volume.
The secret behind any spirits glass is the ability to nose (savor the flavor/smell) of the spirit, allow easy access for sipping and swirling, and provide a visually pleasing, but functionally comfortable appearance and shape.
But what exactly makes the NEAT glass so special? What is it about the design that works so well with high-ethanol drinks like cask-strength whisky?
To savor a fine glass of whisky, it pays to learn to appreciate the smell.
Bourbon and Scotch have complex aromas that demand focused appreciation. Shorter glasses, like the NEAT glass, help to inch one’s nose closer to the liquid, ensuring that the various scents are detected. The taller the glass, the harder it is to detect individual scents.
Swirling is another vital practice when it comes to enjoying whisky. The NEAT glass just so happens to be the perfect vessel for swirling, which goes hand-in-hand with enjoying the aroma of the drink.
When you swirl any spirit, it encourages evaporation, which helps to release scents from the liquor that lay hidden in small rim glasses. The wide bowl of the NEAT glass is the perfect shape to promote a proper and quick swirl, which helps to elevate the experience of the drink.
Certain glasses that have smaller bowls limit the speed in which the liquor can be swirled, effectively capping its ability to release these complex aromas. While the aroma of whisky or any spirit is such an important feature to enjoy, it doesn’t come without complications.
Ethanol, the technical for common drinkable alcohol found in all spirits, is an anesthetic. Simply put, this means that the smell can overwhelm and cause “nose-blindness” (or the inability to distinguish between smells) shortly after exposure. When using a tulip shaped glass, for instance, your nose can effectively begin to fail at distinguishing between the aromatic notes of the whisky in as little as 3 sniffs.
The narrow neck of the NEAT glass and its wider rim lip prevent nose blindness, allowing for superior and reliable nosing abilities.
The dissipation of ethanol away from the nose is the reason the NEAT glass has been adopted as the preferred vessel for spirit tasting events and competitions all over the world. In fact, over 120 thousand spirits have been judged in NEAT at over 30 major competitions annually since 2012, and as a result of NEAT’s superiority, over 30 thousand medals have been awarded to quality spirits tasted in NEAT.
Pretty NEAT, right?
The wide rim also allows the nose to comfortably enter the sphere of the drinking vessel, allowing unparalleled access to the smells and notes characteristic to the liquor that’s being enjoyed. In fact, studies show the smaller the lip, the more guesswork your brain has to perform in order to detect and recognize complex scents, because the overdose of anesthetic ethanol on the nose forces you to rely on past tasting experiences. At this point you are evaluating your past experiences and NOT the spirit in your glass.
Simply put, the NEAT glass allows for whisky, or other spirit, to be enjoyed as the distiller intended. It was designed and perfected as the ideal vessel to appreciate the complex nature of any spirit. From the taste, to the smell, to the touch, this glass is the definitive whisky glass on the market.
The icing on the cake?
These glasses are affordable and well made, ensuring that a pair can effectively last a lifetime. Whether you’re just getting into the complexities of whisky, or a seasoned aficionado, this glass offers something unique for everybody.
An ideal gift or addition to the home or professional bar, there’s a reason why the Neat glass has eclipsed the Glencairn and the tulip as the perfect whisky glass, and as the only vessel worth using to enjoy a stiff drink after a long day.
The most difficult pairings are with spirits, because traditional glassware concentrates ethanol numbing the nose. What a shame you can’t smell the chef’s masterful seasoning because the whisky numbed your nose. NEAT is the chef’s best friend because it eliminates nose numbing and brings forth wonderful surprises from the cuisine in artful spirits pairings.