Glass Act

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Single Malt Whisky Glass by Riedel

We’re not complete numpties, obviously we’ve heard of Riedel glasses but we always thought they were a gimmick. And an expensive one at that. Seriously, just how much can the construction of a glass affect the taste of your drink? Quite a lot as it turns out. We would never have believed how dramatically different spirits perform in vessels designed with their unique characteristics in mind. Just as well we were invited to a special event to try them out for ourselves…

Who better than Maximilian Riedel to inform and enlighten us on the merits of the glassware in the Riedel Bar collection? As 11th generation of the Austrian family-owned dynasty established in 1756 he knows more than most about the hows and whys of these lead crystal glasses designed to elevate the aroma, flavour and balance of neat spirits.

Cognac Hennessy glass

He had his work cut out guiding non-believers like us through a very detailed tasting session for three specific vessels from the collection: one for tequila, one for Cognac and another for single malt whisky. Each was distinctly different from the other – well, they had to be didn’t they, otherwise they wouldn’t need 12 glasses in this particular range alone.

We focused on one spirit at a time, dividing each between the three specialist designs. First, we were invited to sip from the glass conceived to enhance the traits of a specific beverage, then we had to try the same drink from the other two. Well, you could have knocked us down with a cocktail umbrella if there wasn’t a huge difference in the way the drinks behaved and tasted. While the unique aromatics of tequila, Cognac and whisky were round and harmonious in their specially configured Riedel glass, when sipped from their counterparts, the alcohol lost all of its finesse, resulting in an aggressive acidic bite hitting the nose and the palate with the subtlety of a hammer.

Specially crafted tequila glass

Maximilian Riedel explained how size, shape and rim diameter all play an important role in the overall performance of each glass which is tried, tested and re-tested for performance by the most renowned spirit experts in the world.

The session was a revelation to us and while we won’t be rushing out to re-stock our cabinet in the next few weeks (alas, these glasses are not designed for mixed drinks), we may well add a couple to our collection over time. However, if you enjoy neat spirits – particularly expensive ones – you’ll really get the most out of them when savoured from these exceptional vessels.

Riedel Bar, available from all good department store, prices from £20 for two glasses. riedel.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers are Mr G and Ms S, a man and a woman who share a passion for cocktails. (We also happen to be married, so we’re cocktail lovers in more ways than one…)

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4 Responses

  1. Riedel are right! Went to a fabulous comparative tasting at Laithwaites last week where four great wines were given the comparative treatment. But it wasn’t the wines we were comparing – it was the Riedel glasses. In the proper tapered-top glass a Loire sauv blanc was bright and lively, but tried in the flatter open chardonnay glass its delicacy was lost to the wind. A tremendous tremulous Volnay was perfect in its own lipped glass but overwhelmed when tried in a big Bordeaux bowl. And vice versa. Apart from providing yet another way of spending your hard-earned loot on life’s luxuries, this opens up new and exciting opportunities for rampant wine snobbery. Hoorah!

  2. The tasting cost £45, with the four glasses yours to box up and take away. The advertised Vinum glasses themselves retail at £80. Except for some unexplained reason we got given the Vinum XL range, which retail at £100 for four. So spend £45 and get over double that in premium stemware. This is the best arithmetic I’ve ever enjoyed.

    A quick inventory of one shelf at home announces that we now own £380 worth of Riedel glasses. Must readjust the home insurance cover and hide that £4.49 Shiraz!

  3. So their generosity definitely pays off but like you, we think the glasses are well worth the investment

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