Even to the casual observer who isn’t a wine connoisseur, an awful lot of fuss seems to be placed on selecting the correct wine glass. There are arguments for and against having too large a bowl on the glass, whether a certain shape enhances the flavor and aroma of a red or white wine etc.. But when it comes to the brandy snifter which often serves as the default vessel of choice for sipping harder liquors, scant discussion is heard surrounding whether this particular glass best serves such a diverse array of spirits ranging from cognac to American craft-made whiskey. And this is despite the fact that at least one Master Blender’s nose in Scotland is reportedly insured for more than $1 million by Lloyd’s of London.
Enter the Neat glass…a snifter built from the base up modeled after the shape of a pot still. Most importantly, a flared rim diffuses the liquor’s aroma while also allowing noxious and overpowering ethanol elements to escape. Most glasses are wide at the bottom and narrower at the top allowing aromas to rise and converge on the nose. In the case of whiskeys and other hard liquors, it’s not desirable to experience every aroma. Ethanol numbs and kills the olfactory neurons obscuring the rich distinctive aromas that naturally occur during fermentation and distillation.
The Neat glass’s widely flared divergent lip and its proximity to the surface of the liquid as it’s tipped back for imbibing allows the ethanol to escape and positions your nose directly over the concentrated vapors containing only flavorful esters and grain-based aromas.
It’s worth noting that glass making has advanced quite a bit since its origins in Mesopotamia over 5000 years ago . Neat is fully leveraging this heritage by constructing their glasses from hand-made, mouth blown in the USA 100% lead-free Crystalyn crystal. I put the glass to the test sipping some Vickers Brothers South Carolina Backwoods Recipe Cane-Corn Spirit with Honey. The Neat glass amply showcases the liquor’s distinct lightly sweet corn undertones. It allows you plenty of time to savor all aspects of the nose. The lip actually prevents too quick of a toss-back literally pouring it in front of your nose as you gradually imbibe. Another added benefit of this design is that the liquor is aerated by being diffused in a thin layer across the glass. It’s apparent that this glass is made by somebody who really knows their sipping…cognacs, whiskeys, scotches…are all just as much about the aroma as the taste. The bouquet is really a magical prelude to the actual taste.
Photo courtesy of Neat Glass