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Which glass?

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@CanadianNinja
CanadianNinja started a discussion

Glencairn or NEAT?

After getting the idea from one of the other discussions going on at the moment I thought I would address the question of glass styles more directly. I realize that most of you are probably using the Glencairn or something similar. I have been using a glass styled like the NEAT glass, if you are not familiar please check out this link,

www.theneatglass.com

I would love to know what your opinion is, particularly regarding a rim that flares outward like the NEAT or inward like the Glencairn. Feel free to suggest any other glass styles.

8 years ago

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Replies: page 1/5

@Wills
Wills replied

Thx for the link. We had already other glass discussions here, but I've never heard of the NEAT. Sounds very intriguing.

8 years ago 0

@FMichael
FMichael replied

Hmm...Something new to try.

8 years ago 0

@Chookster
Chookster replied

Interesting stuff, they very much appear to take aim at the function of glencairns as well as water...

8 years ago 0

@PMessinger
PMessinger replied

The glass is a great looker. I do wonder how it would work when it comes to throwing whisky on the floor to coat the rim. Lol. :)

8 years ago 2Who liked this?

@NVGeo
NVGeo replied

Interesting glass. It looks you'd have to pour the whisky in your mouth. How well does it work all around?

8 years ago 0

@UisgeJon
UisgeJon replied

@PMessinger I can picture Richard Patterson's frustrated face right now if he were to attempt to do his lesson using the NEAT.

@CanadianNinja, I'm really not sure... my personal opinion is that the outward flare of the NEAT glass would cause you to miss a lot of the aromas. My understanding is that the inward curve of something like the Glencairn helps concentrate the bouquette to your nose. I use the Glencairn, and love it.

8 years ago 2Who liked this?

@CanadianNinja

@UisgeJon I would strongly recommend that you, and everyone else for that matter, take some time to read the information on the NEAT website. It has a lot to say about the effect the outward flaring rim has on the aromas. As well, it really deals a great blow to the, as they clam myth, of 'water opening up a whisky'...

8 years ago 0

@CanadianNinja

@NVGeo I say this having never used an actual 'Glencairn' glass, only similar shaped glasses. I am also not using an actual 'NEAT' glass but a glass that is identical in shape (except mine has a stand on the bottom like a Glencairn does).

And I would say personally that compared to the tulip, inward flaring rim glasses I've used in the past, the NEAT shape does seem to reduce the amount of alcohol during nosing when nosing in the way that is instructed on the NEAT website. This really has allowed me to pick up on notes that I didn't when using glasses shaped like the Glencairn.

8 years ago 0

@Wills
Wills replied

@CanadianNinja You say it's a myth that water opens a whisky? In my opinion this has nothing to do with the NEAT. Like you said, the alcoholic vapors leave the rim where you don't nose the whisky, so you aren't influenced by the alcohol. So this is a physical influence of the shape of the glass.

Water and whisky interacts chemically which allows the whisky to reveal more of the sometimes hidden flavors. Although I've never tried something like the NEAT adding water should be noticeable nonetheless.

8 years ago 2Who liked this?

@CanadianNinja

@Wills No, I didn't say that water opening up whisky is a myth. I said that is the claim made by the designers of the NEAT glass. Again, if you visit the website you can read their claims for yourself. They claim the concept for the NEAT is entirely scientific.

The website states,

'The bigger than life myth, floating around for years, is that adding water “opens up” whiskey. Given the truly abominable glassware available, experts have resorted to any and every means possible to coax the most from a beverage, as well they should. However, the expert perceives the water as "opening up" the beverage, but he is actually raising surface tension and reducing ALL evaporation. Enough alcohol evaporation reduction occurs to detect a little more "other stuff " before olfactory neurons are completely shut down by anesthetic, neuro-pathological alcohol.

We all have a fixed number of olfactory neurons. Alcohol quickly occupies them, preventing other stuff from being smelled. Our expert mistakenly thinks he opened up the whiskey, but actually closed it down and leaving a few more neurons available. In this case, the "better" nose sample created by adding water, is not "opening up", but actually thinning everything out, leaving less alcohol to numb the neurons.'

It goes on in more detail if you would like to visit the site and read it for yourself. Please let me be clear here, I am not particularly trying to advocate the NEAT or similar styled glasses in this discussion. I am trying to get a feel for how many others even know about this styled glass. And if it's known, who's using it and what do you think?

8 years ago 0

@Wills
Wills replied

@CanadianNinja Thx for the clarifications, I was just viewing 2 videos of the NEAT page last night. Guess it is not so popular yet since nobody seems to had a try.

8 years ago 0

@YakLord
YakLord replied

I use a Glencairn 'Canadian', which sort of looks like a NEAT on steriods - it tilts in like the traditional Glencairn, and then flares out again, much like the NEAT, but it is much larger. I've also got two Spey-style tasting glasses, and if need be, I use brandy snifters (if we have large group of people over for an evening and run out of glassware).

8 years ago 1Who liked this?

@BlissInABarrel

howday-ho, studs of connosr. CanadianNinja, thanks for letting me know about this discussion thread. I'm quite ignorant of the NEAT glass, and I've seen the Canadian Glencairn glass at my store. I've never had the privilege of trying both of these glasses, so I don't have an opinion. :( All I know is that the Old Fashioned glasses totally suck for sipping a whisk(e)y and the only thing I do with my nosing process is leaning into one nostril to see how each nostril response to the scotch. so, for example, one side will pick up the alcohol (oh the burning) and i'll know that that nostril is the recessive one, while the other one picks up nutmeg, caramel, etc... also, I bring the glass towards my face and away and from left to right..and they offer a different aroma. sometimes i can smell the aromas in 3 different levels: base of nostril, mid section of nose and to nasal cavity as a result of doing that...

however, i find that this is probably a boring process to most people so i never really talk about it. i'll be on a look out for the NEAT glasses to see.

8 years ago 0

@FMichael
FMichael replied

@YakLord I have both the original Glencairn, and Canadian Glencairn glasses...I must say I prefer the Canadian Glencairn; having a big schnoz I don't bump my nose on the rim of the glass like I do with the original, and it'll also hold more whisky!

8 years ago 2Who liked this?

@NilsG
NilsG replied

It makes sense what's said about water actually not "opening up" the whisky. Water doesn't release new things, it affects ratios and surface tension. The nose will change because of this, whether that change is good or bad is just opinion.

The NEAY glass got me interested, would like to do a parallel comparison with Glencairn to see how much it differs.

What I don't like tho is that they take for granted that reducing ethanol vapors reaching your nostril is a desired effect. Have a glass of apple juice if you don't like sticking your nose in high proof spirits, I say (joke, of course reducing alcohol level can have benefits). I like the sting from the alcohol, don't wanna reduce it. And although it does "numb your neurons" to some extent, it's not THAT bad. It still smells fantastic and I can pick out many different aromas even after prolonged nosing of cask strength whisky.

8 years ago 0

@BlissInABarrel

I'm very curious . Out of all the glasses that you have tried , Canadianninja, do you find that the NEAT glass is better than the Glencairn? Also thanks Yaklord for providing that input of the Canadian Glrncairn vs the regular one. I would love to try my scotches with these different types of glasses to see how they are! :) thanks everyone for the comments! I learn a lot from you pros!

8 years ago 0

@CanadianNinja

@BlissInABarrel I say this as someone who has been drinking whisky for a number of years but is by no means an expert!

Also, I have never used an official 'Glencairn' glass but other glasses very similar in shape. The glass I use currently in not an official 'NEAT' glass but one that is identical in shape.

Having said that all that, yes, at this point my NEAT styled glass has created the best drinking experience for me. I have ordered an official NEAT glass but I have yet received it yet. I also plan to purchase an official Glencairn glass in the future and sample the two side by side.

8 years ago 0

@CanadianNinja

@BlissInABarrel Also, please feel free to replace 'Having said that all that,...' with 'Having said all that,..' and '...but I have yet received it yet...' with '...but I have not received it yet...' in the previous post! :)

8 years ago 0

@NVGeo
NVGeo replied

This discussion has made me curious - how much water is in whisky to start with, say a typical 80 proof whiskey?

I get what the NEAT folks say about surface tension and all that, but what they don't really explain well is that just because a molecular species is heavy doesn't mean it is less prone to evaporation. Every molecular species has its own volatility. Gasoline is more volatile than water, but octane, the main component of gasoline, is heavier than water. One of the reasons that is true for gasoline is that octane is a non-polar molecule and doesn't attract to like molecules much as compared with water, which is strongly polar and attracts to like molecules and other polar molecules. That is part of the reason gasoline and water don't mix. Wiki Chemical Polarity for more on this. Ethanol is also heavier than water, but more volatile. Ethanol is heavier than water but less strongly polar, and thus more volatile.

There are all levels of polarity in various molecules. Water has pretty strong polarity and it goes down from there to things that are not polar at all. There also some things that are even more strongly polar than water. There are also differences in the geometry of the polarity. (Bear with me - I'll get back to whisky) Phospholipids have a long, non-polar chain with a fatty structure on one end (the lipid part), and a strongly polar part at the other (the phosphorus-bearing part.) These molecules tend are water soluble because the phospho part, being polar, tends to attract to water molecules, while the lipid part hangs away from the water, like spoke on a wheel, or like tadpoles around a food crumb.

My point is, if whisky is dominated by polar molecules they will be competing for access to water, with the most polar molecules grabbing the water preferentially over the less polar or non-polar molecules. If there is plenty of water there is some for everyone. With fewer water molecules the less polar species will be crowded out away from the water - the most strongly polar molecules will tend to hog the water molecules.

When water is added to whisky it will disrupt the status quo and cause all kinds of rearrangements to take place as molecules that were shut out before start to find a place around the new water molecules. During this phase, which can last several minutes, the aroma can change rapidly but will settle down after some time. In 80 proof whisky by far the most common polar molecule is ethanol. Ethanol is going to tend dominate the competition for water just by sheer numbers even though it may not be the most strongly polar molecule in your NEAT glass. It will, so to speak, have a house on every corner near the water molecules no matter what, and the kinetics of liquids will always be jostling things around a bit.

I don't want to go on and on, but I think you can see that the story with water and whisky is more complex than the NEAT folks have let on. That's understandable - they're trying to sell glasses, not bore people with chemistry. I think they said as much as they could from a marketing standpoint. Their business about heavy molecules returning to the glass if not propelled upward is simply wrong however. If they are volatile, weakly polar molecules, they will be more comfortable in air than in the liquid, especially if more water is added. Some of the other things they say are wrong too. They are mixing truth, half truth and, stretched truth (to be generous) in order to sell glasses that you may or may not like for reasons far from those they've given. That page of theirs wouldn't be there if they weren't trying to sell glasses - it is part of the marketing. Just keep that in mind.

8 years ago 5Who liked this?

@NilsG
NilsG replied

@NVGeo Not boring, you add very interesting information to the discussion. Yeah most of what is written is is based on true facts, but they obviously angle and stretch it to somehow make it into an argument for their glass. To put simply, what they say agrees with what (little) I know about chemistry/physics, but I fail to see how that would make their glass superior to Glencairn. "The earth is round, therefore buy Nike!" Also, after what you wrote, I wonder if not the effect of disturbing the balance would play a more important role than the slight change in surface tension when adding just a drop or two.

8 years ago 0

@CanadianNinja

@NVGeo Extremely interesting, what you are saying about the properties of water and it's interaction with the whisky. So let's say then that yes, the question of adding water to whisky and it's effects is much more complicated than what they are claiming.

Let me ask you your thoughts on the shape of the NEAT. I'm assuming that you've given the site a thorough read through. Is the potential of the NEAT's design capable of influencing the nosing experience as they claim it will water or no water? Does their science regarding the directing of aromas add up?

8 years ago 0

@YakLord
YakLord replied

@FMichael - you're right, the Canadian does have a heftier feel to it, and as with you, I sometimes find it hard to get my nose into the Speyside tasting glasses...the Canadian is just better all around, in my opinion.

That being said, I wouldn't mind getting hold of a 'true' Glencairn, and a NEAT and putting all four glass styles next to each other with the same whisky, just to see how it affects the nose.

8 years ago 2Who liked this?

@FMichael
FMichael replied

@YakLord Amazon has both the original Glencairn, and Canadian Glencairn glasses for a reasonable price.

Now that I've had my Canadian glasses - I rarely ever use the originals anymore.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

I think that there is a huge study to be made in the differences in experiences to be had with the different shapes AND SIZES of glasses. We use 5 types of glasses here, Glencairn, Riedel Spirits glasses, small stemmed Brandy snifters, very large tapered glasses similar to some of the V & B glasses, and a tall-stemmed small bulbed tapered Tiffany glass, probably made for digestifs or liqueurs. My wife and sister generally prefer to drink from the Riedel glasses, but that seems to be more of a preference for the size and hand feel of the glass than by means of systematic study of the experiences derived from each of these various drinking vessels. I don't have a huge preference among Glencairn, Riedel, or Brandy snifter, but I was amazed when @numen demonstrated to me what difference there was in drinking some Talisker 57 d North out of a Glencairn compared to a snifter. More of what I wanted to experience came from the Brandy snifter. The two glasses brought and emphasized different aspects of the same whisky. As for the big glasses, they gave some superior experiences, quite possibly the best of the group, but I don't use them much because they are a bit of a nuisance because they are a little clumsy to handle, to clean, and to store.

I haven't sampled from either the NEAT glass nor the 'Canadian Glencairn', but I am sure that they have their own peculiar strong and weak points, as do the others.

Overall, I would set myself a whole lot of systematic study before I would consider myself in a position to have strong opinions about any of this.

8 years ago 3Who liked this?

@JJBoud
JJBoud replied

Granted, I'm new to all of this but I agree with @NilsG... Shouldn't we desire to capture all of the aroma of a good whisky including the sometimes uncomfortable burn of a high % one? It seems like that is a great obstical for whisky makers to embrace, or overcome, whichever they consider. If there is a glass that reduces aroma of any sort, I think I'll pass.

8 years ago 0

bennibarrel replied

Well, for having a dram with friends I prefer the Glencairn Glass. But for something special I prefer the "Spey tumbler". For trying new whiskies I use a Pro-Nosing Glass.

8 years ago 0

@NVGeo
NVGeo replied

@YakLord The business about vapor pressure is quite poorly presented, and the thrust of that section is mostly wrong. Vapor pressure is a difficult concept to explain but I'll give it a try, Every liquid and gas has a vapor pressure. In air, the sum of the pressure of oxygen, nitrogen, and all the other gasses in air equals the atmospheric pressure. In other words, part of the atmospheric pressure is due to the nitrogen, part is due to the oxygen, and part is due to the rest of the miscellaneous gasses that make up air. If the air is humid, part of the pressure is due to water. Lower the temperature and the water vapor pressure drops, some of the water condenses as a liquid, the proportions of the remaining gases changes, and atmospheric pressure remains constant. It's mathematical.

At the surface of your whisky in the glass the pressure is atmospheric pressure. It will always only be atmospheric pressure. The components making up the atmosphere at the whisky surface contain a lot of things other than nitrogen and oxygen, each with its own vapor pressure, the sum of which equals the atmospheric pressure.

The NEAT people say "Directing evaporated vapors toward an orifice (opening) smaller than the evaporative surface area concentrates them into tighter space than when they were floating around in the larger evaporation chamber. This restriction causes crowding and raises vapor pressure because not as many molecules can get out, even though pushed by vapor pressure from below. As molecules are concentrated, lighter ethanol molecules go wild, and their collision frequencies and molecular velocities increase in the dense crowd."

This is complete nonsense. The shape of a glass can no more increase vapor pressure than it can change the amount you poured. Also, temperature is a function of the average velocities of all the components in a gas. It is an average relating the the kinetic energy of the individual molecules. Nothing is going to change the average velocity of ethanol molecules, except heat. So the ethanol molecules are not going to go wild and flee the scene. They are going to diffuse, and diffusion is controlled by molecular weight. Heavier molecules diffuse more slowly than light ones, and I've already mentioned that water is lighter than ethanol.

Now, I don't know what the range of molecular weights of the compounds in whiskey, but I do know that diffusion rates really only apply when the gas is perfectly still. In other words, if there are no drafts things will diffuse in a mathematically predictable way. But most of the time conditions are not ideal for diffusion. We are swirling, moving, sniffing, sipping, and breathing our delicious whisky in rooms with temperature gradients and convection currents, not to mention air conditioning providing heating or cooling. Add to this the fact that when we stick our noses into the gas above the whisky we are sucking in vastly more gas than is coming off the whisky. We are getting plenty of normal air in the mix. Additionally, if there was any kind of organization to the gas above the rim of the glass, like in their picture, we are demolishing that immediately and there would not be time enough for it to reestablish itself.

The long and short is that if you want to smell the most whisky my idea of the way to do that would be a tall glass that you could swirl whisky way up on the walls of, so that evaporation changes the composition of a large volume of the air inside to a more whisky-rich composition, alcohol included. Then you would want a way to draw that entire air mass through your nose without diluting it with a lot of outside air. That way you would be smelling whisky, not whisky plus air. The only way I can think to do that would be to have the rim of the glass fit your face like a dust mask, and to have an air inlet tube that would replace the whisky laden air you are inhaling by allowing air to flow in at the whisky surface. You would need something like a snorkel built in to the glass with its opening just above the whiskey surface! It would look ridiculous, and you would look ridiculous using it.

So, no, I do not think the NEAT glass is going to do what it says. But I do think a narrow top does help keep air mixing to a minimum as it prevents air currents from diluting the whisky laden air in the glass. That said, a larger bowl with a narrow top might be the best for nosing, and your nosing will be at its best by taking short sniffs, not long draws. That will reduce the amount of alcohol numbing you get, and give you a less diluted sample of the whisky you are smelling.

All IMHO.

8 years ago 5Who liked this?

@FMichael
FMichael replied

@Victor I wonder if the Obama admin would send a few $$$ our way for us to conduct a study...Hmmm...

8 years ago 0

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