The Manual Guide to Whiskey Decanters

whiskey decanter

Throughout cinema and television history, men of importance always seem to have a decanter full of whiskey around.

Usually, these men are in their offices and they walk slowly across the room—a client sitting in an uncomfortable chair before them—in order to slowly pull the crystal topper out and pour themselves a glass. If their feeling generous, they might offer whoever they’re with a glass, too.

But why use a whiskey decanter?

For wine, there is a definitive purpose—a decanter lets wine breathe, that is, it introduces oxygen to the wine and allows certain flavors and notes to express themselves after being stuck in a bottle for however long (and when you think about it, wine decanters don’t have seals like whiskey decanters do). In addition, decanting wine allows a person to remove sediment that might be at the bottom of the wine bottle.

For whiskey, though, there really isn’t a need for oxidizing or removing sediment. What it comes down to with whiskey, basically, is aesthetics. If you want to look particularly bad ass or in control, then go ahead, put that whiskey in a decanter!

When choosing a decanter, there are a couple things to keep in mind:

Size – A standard bottle of whiskey is 750mL, which equates to about 25 ounces. If you plan on putting an entire bottle in the decanter, you’ll obvious need something larger than that. If you don’t plan on putting a whole bottle in, you can move right along to the next point.

Airtight Seal – While whiskey oxidizes slower than wine, it still oxidizes. You’ll want a decanter with a good, sturdy, airtight seal. When you transfer the whiskey from the bottle to the decanter, you’re already taking it out of its optimal environment (the original bottle), so you don’t want to exacerbate anything by providing a constant flow of oxygen due to a faulty seal.

Lead-Free Crystal – Most decanters these days are already lead-free, but it’s good to check anyway. If the crystal contains lead, and the whiskey sits in it long enough, you could chance the lead leeching into the whiskey and doing terrible things to your insides.

Price – Finally, how fancy do you want to look? How much do you want to show off? Will you use the decanter in a group setting such as a party, or is it going to be only for you at the end of a long day of work? Depending on what you want the decanter for might effect the price you’re willing to pay.

With these points in mind, we’ve pulled together some decanters to fit a wide range of styles, tastes, and prices.

Related: How To Pack Beer and Wine For Travel

For those wanting to seriously show-off:

Ravenscroft Crystal Beveled Blade Decanter ($132)

Ravenscroft Crystal Beveled Blade Decanter

Waterford Crystal Lismore Diamond Decanter ($220)

Waterford Crystal Lismore Diamond Decanter

For those wanting to have a little fun:

Storm Trooper Decanter ($28)

Storm Trooper Decanter

Globe Decanter by Bar Me ($64.97)

Globe Decanter by Bar Me

For those wanting customized decanters:

The 5 Piece Whiskey Decanter and Glass Set ($54.99)

The 5 Piece Whiskey Decanter and Glass Set

The Ultimate Host Bucket + Decanter Set ($125)

The Ultimate Host Bucket + Decanter Set