Throughout history, glasses of Cognac, Champagne and wine have been raised in celebration in their own inimitable style of glass. It is quite astonishing that whisky, a noble spirit with a glorious history unrivalled by other spirits, has not been served well. Even now, in the 21st Century, it continues to be served in anything from the Paris goblet to the cowboy shooter!
To rectify this anomaly, Glencairn Crystal consulted the real experts, the Master Blenders to create the definitive and exclusive whisky glass.
David Stewart (William Grant & Son), Robert Hicks (Allied Distillers), Richard Paterson (JBB), John Ramsey (Highland Distillers), Robert McElroy (UDV) and many of their piers were consulted. Also included in Glencairn's research were a number of leading Marketing Managers, publicans and whisky journalists - all of whom were more than willing to add their input and support the project. Every person consulted instantly recognised and expressed the need for such a glass, one that will enable the whisky novice and enthusiast to appreciate the complexities and individual qualities of each whisky.
An interesting coincidence occurred when the opinions and market research was collated: consultants proved to have more or less the same picture of their ideal glass, namely a drinkable nosing glass married to a more robust base.
The combined efforts have resulted in the development of THE BLENDERS' MALT GLASS.
"The launch of this new malt whisky glass could not have come at a better time", said Richard Paterson, Master Blender at Jim Beam Brands. "The popularity of single malt and aged blends have dramatically risen over the last few years - now we have the ideal glass to fully appreciate the spirits outstanding quality both on the nose (aroma) and taste. Like a good quality whisky this glass has plenty of character.
Campbell Evans, spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association had this to say when he was presented with the new glass; "A new scotch whisky glass with a design which reflects the quality of Scotch and raises the profile even farther can only be good for the Scotch Whisky Industry - I wish it the success it deserves".
Under aggressive competition from many new and innovative spirits, the Scotch Whisky Industry is striving to gain a more prominent position in the younger age groups (20-35). One avenue is encouragement of mixing of whisky with soft drinks, ice, etc. Glencairn has the most comprehensive range of shapes of tumblers, hiballs, stemware etc. in soda-lime glass and crystal. Another method is to inspire the consumer to extend their knowledge and appreciation of their favourite dram - this is where the Blenders' Malt Glass will have its greatest impact.
Michael Jackson, Whisky Magazine's Contributing Editor and author of the best-selling Malt Whisky Companion, has long campaigned for the drink to be served in the kind of glass the professionals use. "A glass that holds the bouquet helps you understand what is so special about malts", he said. "The aroma of the barley malt, the peat, the sherry cask, perhaps the seashore where the whisky was matured... no other drink quite captures this magic. The problem was always that the professional glasses were too delicate for pub use. Now these attributes have been incorporated into a more robust type of glass", he continued. "The drinker can be seen to care about the qualities of his whisky without looking like a snob. I hope restaurants and pubs adopt it, and that it becomes a badge of connoisseurship for the fine whiskies in general. The traditional cut glass tumbler does nothing for the drinker and looks old fashioned. There is a far greater appreciation of fine whiskies than there was in the past and they deserve a presentation that matches their quality and price".
The glass will be available from September and information will be updated on the run up to its release.