Over the past few years, there’s been something of a renaissance in booze-related glassware. In case you haven’t noticed, glassmakers have been revisiting traditional vessel designs and using modern design techniques to optimize them for certain drinks. It’s a wonderful trend, and it’s still picking up steam, but thus far, the unfortunate truth is that purpose-built, drink-specific glassware is still mostly confined to the realm of craft beer and wine. Nobody has really ventured too deep into the world of glassware that’s scientifically optimized for craft spirits — until now, that is.
For the past few years, New York-based upstart Norlan has been developing a specialized glass tumbler designed specifically for high-end whiskey. Much like the new wave of hyper-specific beer glasses, Norlan’s whiskey glass is built from the ground up to accentuate the spirit’s complex flavors and aromatics, and employs a number of unique design elements to improve the overall drinking experience.
The first and most obvious feature is the vessel’s double-blown construction. This isn’t just for aesthetics — it actually helps insulate your whiskey from temperature changes and keep it more stable. As a result, ice cubes will melt more slowly in the Norlan glass than they would in a traditional tumbler, which helps keep your dram from getting too diluted.
Less apparent but equally important is the inner chamber’s unique shape. The glass is designed with a set of special fins that help aerate your whiskey more effectively when you give it a good swish. According to Norlan, “whisky is made up of hundreds of compounds, and with proper aeration the volatile undesirable elements will evaporate faster than the desirable, aromatic and flavorful ones, thus increasing the concentration of the aromatics.”
Last but not least is the vessel’s carefully-crafted brim. Taking a cue from the world of wine, the brim of Norlan’s glass is shaped so that it delivers your whiskey directly to specific parts of your palette. This presumably helps you appreciate all the subtle complexities of the spirit.
Unfortunately the glass isn’t available for purchase quite yet, but Norlan is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for production, so if you back the project now, you can pre-order a pair of the glasses for a pledge of $38. If all goes well, Norlan expects to begin shipping the glass to backers sometime in April of 2016.
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