This is part II of the Nosing Glass comparison where we compare some more unorthodox glasses. For part I, which includes the standards, click here. Again, there’s a multitude of special and unconventional nosing glasses out there and we really cannot test them all. Instead, here are some of the (what we thought are the) more interesting and promising ones.
Neat The Artisian: Let’s call this a modified tumbler. The producer says “science built a better glass” but I don’t think so. The aromas are very volatile and fugitive and there is no concentration or focus whatsoever. This means that the alcohol is not very dominant but the rum is considerably less aromatic than we’ve had it in most other glasses. Having only this glass, I’d have a hard time describing the aromas. Either we were doing it wrong or it just doesn’t work at all but either way, I wouldn’t recommend it.
1920s’ Blender’s: This is an interesting one and the balloon-like shape nicely saves and bundles the aromas. It is by far the most intense and aromatic nosing experience we’ve had. Having this next to some of the other glasses makes me wonder whether we’ve put some rum in them at all. The difference is huge. The alcohol is very present but the balanced and intense delivery of the aromas more than makes up for it. The processing and workmanship is magnificent and the glass is rather heavy and stable. Cleaning is tougher than with most other glasses but not really a problem. Easily my favorite nosing glass so far.
The Whisky Lodge Nosing Glass: This is very similar in style to the Blender’s glass but it comes with a lid and is considerably cheaper. The opening is a bit wider and the glass is noticeably lighter and thinner. Due to the wider opening the aromas are bundled a bit less than with the Blender’s glass which results in slightly less alcoholic scents but also minimally less intense aromas. The differences are not very huge between the two glasses and the price point speaks in favour of the The Whisky Lodge glass. Personally, I prefer the Blender’s glass but if alcoholic notes are a no-go for you then this might be your choice.
Riedel Vinum: I must say that this glass is rather ugly but it is another interesting one which manages to tease out very specific aromas just like the Grappa glass from the standards session. Exactly one dram (2cl) fits into the shaft and you can roll it on the table along the surface without running the risk of losing any of the precious spirit (as you can see, we’ve used a bit less than 2cl but it works). Here it are the heavier, woody, musty and tannic elements however that are emphasised. It takes some time to get used to the glass since improper ‘rolling’ and immediate nosing results in an absurdly intense cloud of alcohol but once you get the trick the aromas stay within the glass forever. At first it is rather balanced but it quickly shifts towards the heavier, woody and cask notes, some of which didn’t come across in any of the other glasses. However, this comes at the expense of some of the more fragile notes. I even get a few grassy notes, something I haven’t found in this rum before. Cleaning is rather difficult by the way.
The scientific Neat glass cannot keep up with the standard Copitas but the two balloon-shaped glasses definitely push nosing to the next level. While they are similar to the Copita in terms of detectable aromas, the experience is just way more intense. Either of them is the perfect glass for having just one special rum which you want to explore. In a larger session or cross-tasting I prefer the Copitas, I think. The Riedel is also special and might work as your ‘second’ glass, just as the Grappa glass. I recommend it for heavy and stable rums which you know already, i.e. for bottles and not for samples.