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Review: Flare Glass vs other shapes

 
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Review: Flare Glass vs other shapes Reply with quote

Flare Glass by Spirit Sippers (link)



I was recently in contact with the good folks at Spirit Sippers, who in the best of spirits made a gracious gift of a couple of their new rum tasting glasses to Sue Sea and moi for the express purpose of having them tested and reviewed.

A act of bravery deserving our utmost respect. And a free plug:

Quote:
The Flare

The Flare is ideal for Rum, particularly premium aged varieties which benefit from generous breathing room. The Flare’s body curves inward before bending outward at the top, allowing the aromas of a good rum to drift up gently, while alcohol fumes escape unnoticed. The flared rim also enables the spirit to glide effortlessly over the tongue. The shape of this glass fits the sensuality of rum and provides for a super-easy sipping experience. The Flare is lead-free and handmade in the United States.

Volume: 5.0 oz
Height: 4 7/16 inches
Diameter: 2 7/16 inches

$35.00
(Set of 4)


All distillers, importers and distributors of fine rum take note. I can be bought!

As some of you may know I am an afficianado of rum tasting glasses and completed an extensive review of the popular and/or respected glass shapes of the world including the tulip, thistle, Riedel Rum, Eisch, Riedel Malt Whisky, SMWS, sherry copita, ISO Standard, Glenmorangie, small and large snifters, IKEA Optimol et al.

I even tested Preacher Ed's mug (also useful for hydrating livestock).

These were covered in Chapter Three: Tasting and Glasses (link) over at the The Rum Project main site. The article I published is quite extensive and includes pictures of all the glasses, comments from some of the web's best known rum tasters and their personal preferences. My favorite tasting glass to date, bar none, is the IKEA Optimol (see article). This post is just a tease as we await delivery of thenew Spirit Sippers Flare.

Stay tuned... in the meanwhile, do post what kinds of glasses you have tried, which shape(s) you prefer and why.


***************

Flare by Spirit Sippers: "A Lover, not a Fighter"

Sue Sea and I are mad for tasting glasses. We take our tasting and reviewing very seriously and with the notion that our reviews need to be as accurate and as accessible as possible. Since it is true that glasses make a HUGE difference in tasting (see link to my Chapter Three, "Tasting and Glasses", above) we are always searching for a better glass, one that will fully exposes all the aromas and which will lead to the most complete tasting experience possible.

Let's first hear from Sue Sea:

Sue Sea:

Quote:
In rum tasting, I want a glass that doesn't get in the way, that exposes all the aromas in a way that I can get at them from high to low aromas. I don't wish to be sheltered from the rum. If it's awful I want to know it.

Now about the Flare by Spirit Sippers. It is a sturdy glass, lead-free (a good thing as far as I'm concerned) and attractive, with a feminine shape. But it is not at all easy to hold and is confusing. The "waist" leads you to hold it there - but then there is the lower chamber - and some may be tempted to hold it by the base. Honestly I found it awkward, and found my grip constantly changing. Rum tasting is a total experience - from the bottle label and design, the pouring aromas, and the first viewing and spin of the rum, noting its lustrousness (or lack), legs and the like.

The Flare makes this difficult if not impossible and pretty much forces you to hold the "waist" or bowl leaving it covered with fingerprints. Or to risk holding it by the base. It really needs a longer stem, perhaps another 3/4 inch or so. Enough so that a proper viewing is possible and an important part of the experience is preserved.

Now for access.

The Flare forced me to be "in the glass" to pick up aromas. Now of course the flare makes this easy, but this too is an issue. I found that I was adding my breath to the rum, further diffusing the already diffused aromas (next). It's the equivalent of adding a few drops of water to a rum, and honestly, some rums can't stand up to this diffusion.

Light rums especially get lost in this glass. Last is the Flare's overall effect.

I believe the purpose and best use of this glass is as a diffuser. The exaggerated bowl shape and long, tall flare seem to conspire to trap the aromas. This made them relatively inaccessible and forced me to really have to work - hard - to get at them.

So with all due respect to the wonderful people at Spirit Sippers who were so very kind to send us this glass - thank you so very much - I have to be honest and say, that for me, this is not an effective tasting glass. However, the Flare's main disadvantage for tasting - diffusion - may well be an advantage for sipping for enjoyment.

I'll let Jim cover that. Again, my sincere thanks and appreciation to Spirit Sippers.


Me:

Both Sue Sea and I were very excited to receive and test the Flare by Spirit Sippers. I'll try not to be repetitive. It is quite a striking glass, and I do like the feminine shape (which is as close to other women as Sue Sea will tolerate, lol). But I could not agree more with Sue Sea and others who find the lack of a decent stem a problem. Rum tasting is indeed a total experience, and the lack of stem is a significant shortcoming.

But not fatal. This might have been forgiven to a point if the glass was superior in all other regards. It wasn't. And I found one other issue - when the rum does make it out of the lower bowl, there is a tendency for larger quantities to escape than intended. The "Flare" does spread the entry though.

Because this was a gift - and in the interest of both accuracy and fairness - we took substantial extra time to verify our impressions. We started the test using one of our top rated rums - Mount Gay Extra Old - because it is both complex and challenging. For a fair comparison we of course brought out our personal IKEA Optimol tasting glasses - a glass we have come to favor and respect, and with which we are very familiar. We poured exactly 3/4 oz. of MGXO in both and allowed it to air a bit.

Our first impression, honest, was close to "Is there really rum in there?". The difference in the Optimol and Flare was dramatic. I concur with all of Sue Sea's impressions, above. Now of course there was rum in there and yes, aromas were evident in the flare, but much lighter, somewhat higher and diffused as so well put by SS.

It was at this point we started bringing out our entire collection of glasses, and doing side-by-sides to establish a pecking order of glasses. These were roughly divided into three groups.

Group One



From #1 to #3, left to right, the Optimol, the Reko (also by IKEA) and a small, wide mouth snifter. The Optimol has the perfect combination of both access and holding aroma, allows high to low examination, is dramatic, allows a lovely (and safe) swirl, may be tipped almost horizontal without spilling, releases rum carefully and in controlled amounts. The perfect taster. The Reko is very close, traps a tiny bit less, cannot be tipped as far. The wide mouth snifter does a wonderful job of holding and exposing the aromas with only slightly less access for deep examination.

I believe that snifters are given short shrift by rum drinkers.

Group Two:



Left to right: #4, #5 and a tie for #6. On the left the Riedel cognac (which is very, very close to their rum design once produced for Zacapa). Aromas close to group one but almost no access. Next is an amazing little cheapo glass we found at a Turkish food store for about $10 for 6. This little glass does very well with tasting amounts, and the short flare allows good access and decent exposure of aroma.

The two glasses on the right are the Flare and a small angled tumbler my father once won in a sales contest. These two were a noticeable step below #4 and #5. Aromas were diffused, with the small tumbler giving better access.

Group Three



The bottom of the barrel. Left to right: #7, a Preacher Ed style tumbler; #8 a Riedel Malt Whiskey tasting glass and #9 being a shorter champagne flute (taller/thinner than a sherry copita). Tasting amounts are simply lost in Preacher Ed's livestock waterer. The Riedel, while found favorable by a very few tasters of powerful whiskeys, may be said to be a Riedel failure. It garners very little respect. I believe the combination of the high straight sides simply does not work for rums.

I have to say that the sherry copita - a shorter, wider version of the flute shown - is used by a number of tasters, particularly as they approach the SMWS glass (again, see Chapter Three, link above). But I have yet to obtain this glass, but I will tell you the champagne flute is simply awful.

Back to the Flare.

As discussed the Flare falls in the bottom of the middle group of glasses for tasting. And it took us some time to place it there. At first, the side-by-sides led us to place the Flare in the bottom group. But we persisted trying a good light rum - Cuban formula San Pablo - and a pungent Jamaican style - Appleton Extra.

As we did so, we began to get onto the subtlety of the Flare and we finally moved it to it's final position, above. At a point we were tasting Appleton Extra from this glass and I made an interesting discovery. Extra is a great rum, but not an easy one to appreciate by many new rum drinkers. Jamaican rums are quite pungent, have a dunder component that may be challenging for newer rummies.

The Flare softened and lightened it nicely. The very features - an aroma trapping bowl with remote high access - that make the Flare a lower rated tasting glass make it a pleasant drinking glass. More pungent rums are softened and diffused, eg the Appleton Extra was both softened and sweetened by this glass.

Accordingly it is our opinion that while the Flare does not make a good tasting glass, it IS an interesting drinking/sipping glass. It is sturdy and attractive and would be well used for serving guests and new rum drinkers.
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Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:14 am; edited 5 times in total
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Capn Jimbo
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:43 am    Post subject: How bout a test... Reply with quote

About the Reidel rum tasting glass...


I have the Reidel shown about $17 here - although I do know they have several different lines. Of course there are always practical considerations like fragility or sturdiness, but we'd all be interested in the actual tasting differences.

For example, Riedel makes a big deal of how the glass pictured will deliver more spirit to the front of the tongue in careful quantities. A large open tumber, larger quantities delivered more to the middle of the tongue. The Riedel can be assumed to capture and hold more aromas, and deny some access to the deeper/heavier ones. Tumblers are known for releasing a lot more aroma and especially alcohol and can be overpowering to to many tasters.

Ad infinitum. But I found our IKEA Optimols were the perfect compromise and tasted much better, more completely. I wonder if you could address the differences in tasting between these two glasses.

Best: do pour yourself a couple drams of say, Appleton Extra, side by side. The Extra has enough of everything to provide an interesting comparison of these two glasses.

Do let us know...
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Last edited by Capn Jimbo on Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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da'rum
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah ha! Found the glass thread!
BRB
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not long ago I bought some Glencairn glasses having previously been happily drinking from a ikea generic tulip glass. The Glencairn glasses are supposedly the perfect glass for whisky. They definitely concentrate the aromas but I think something is lost in the tasting. I wrote about not being able to really appreciate the Benriach 17 and that was a third of a bottle drunk with a Glencairn glass. Tonight I went back to my faithful tulip glass that has a wider opening and a broader cup than the Glencairn, the difference in taste and noticeable layers of aroma and flavour was surprisingly apparent. I will definitely have to edit my Benriach post now as the glass has made the world of difference.

What do you use for a glass?

Quote:
Capn Jimbo;

Plus one...


...I'm not a big fan of the Glencairn, regardless of history or traditon. Believe me, at one time we went NUTS testing all manner of glasses, and a major article was written about glasses, who uses what, other tests by qualified tasters, etc., here's the link (which covers probably 30 or 40 different glass shapes)...
http://www.rumproject.com/menuitem3.html
After much, much consideration the glass we finally chose was an IKEA (no longer available). It's the far left glass in the pic - nice stem, small apple, good nose entry, does very well with anything from 1/2 to 1 ounce of spirit, more in the article.

It allows high, med and low nosing. It captures all aromas nicely, but still allows access. Any yes as da'rum has pointed out, there are major differences between glasses. Of course our choice is the best for tasting, lol...


Quote:
Dai
Only ever used two types of glasses one a whisky glass similiar to a sherry glass the other a Glen Cairn can't say I've ever noticed a difference between the two. might try a small wine glass just for fun but I'm happy with my Glen Cairn to be honest.


Quote:
Da'Rum
The difference between the Glencairn glass and my Brandy glass is like night and day. I was really missing out with the Glencairn.


Quote:
Da'Rum
I tried the Blantons in the brandy glass last night and had a completely contrasting experience to the one I had with the Benriach using the same glass, it didn't really work. The Blantons is much better in the Glencairn glass, so far. Of course I will conduct more in depth scientific research but as it stands now, Glencairn for the bourbon and the Brandy glass for the Single malt.


I have decided to do a side by side test ASAP with at least 3 different glass types/shapes. As soon as I get a round tuit.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love my Glen Cairn glasses! Yes, they do contain some of the aroma in the lower bowl (excepting adding water to S &C), but as the glass is tilted toward the mouth, the aromas are released. A different experience - overhead scenting is muted.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.whiskynotes.be/2015/whisky-news/the-best-whisky-glass/

A good link but I think these guys are getting closer to the best shape. The price is a bit much though.

http://www.whisky.de/shop/Zubehoer/Glaeser/Kristallglas-Whisky-de.html
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks d...


All of these and many more were thoroughly covered in Chapter Three: Tasting and Glasses article at the main site, here:
http://www.rumproject.com/menuitem3.html

After much research and extensive testing by Sue Sea and Moi, I have to respectfully disagree. There are any number of glasses that portend to "capture" aroma by creating various narrowed chimneys. Your links show many of these. The problem: the "chimney" prevents access of the testing instrument, ie your nose. Keep in mind that the various aromas range from those that are literally heavier (nearer the surface) and those very light in weight and density that easily rise up and out the chimney.

The only way all aromas can be found is by nosing first high, then at medium height, and finally with a nice low nosing close to the surface. As you can imagine the narrowed chimney glasses all have the same fault to varying degrees, which is keeping you away from the heavier, denser aromas, or in extreme cases, by trapping too many aromas in the glass.

The glass we ultimately tested and HIGHLY recommend was once made by IKEA and proved to be superior to everything else, to wit:

1. Nice stem to hold, no warming or fingerprints on the bowl.

2. Works well with testing amounts of 1/2 to 1 ounce

3. Swirls well and safely

4. Captures aromas very well, but still allows full access and use of the recommended technique of high, medium and low nosing.

5. Can be tipped almost horizontal without spilling

6. Was inexpensive and easily replaceable.

Unfortunately this glass was long ago discontinued, but a similar shape can easily be found for a dollar or two at any recycle shop.




*******
http://www.rumproject.com/menuitem3.html
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da'rum
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think you covered every glass, and even if you did more voices on the opinion is what a consensus is all about, oder? (Edit; actually that glass list was pretty comprehensive)
I actually agree with you. I think that the diameter of the opening on most whisky glasses is too small for exactly the reason you just explained. However, I think that the optimal diameter is about 50-50mm (1.965 inch- 2.165 inch). I think the cup of the glass must be reasonable wide like that of a brandy schwenker. and the glass must taper inwards to a smaller opening than the cup.
That is why I said the glass from whisky.de is closest but still not perfect. . Unfortunately being crystal and hand made it is too expensive.

The proportions that I just detailed allow for the nosing you were talking about.

I would also add that I am starting to believe that there actually isn't a universal glass shape for every whisky, let alone spirit. A peat whisky takes a wider opening, a finer unpeated whisky actually a smaller.

But this is mere theory backed by the minimum of practical experimentation.

Cheers
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do agree, a glass is a compromise, but truth be told we all seem to have a "go-to" glass we like. The reason the small apple shape works so well is that you can nose low and actually get your nose well down in the bowl. None of the chimneys glasses allow that, except for the cocaine sniffers who follow the Project, lol...

Please do read the article which also covers the glasses used by a number of leading tasters, including Richard Seales, and the glasses they use. Seriously, Chapter Three was the result of weeks of research, testing and writing. A suggestion is even made at the end as to how to go about finding the best glass for each of us...
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought some of these due to their similarity to the properties of your IKEA glass, Jimbo.

http://www.amazon.com/Charles-Schumann-Basic-Cocktail-Glass/dp/B00VEUK8SY/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1435992339&sr=8-4&keywords=schumann+cocktail

I don't have enough experience with it yet to give it the full thumbs up or thumbs down, but at present my favorite glass remains of the "Barrel Aged Spirits" Zwiesel profile, although mine were done by Riedel. Certainly they don't allow the nose in the glass down to the surface. I'm still working on some more opened glassware and waiting for my a-ha moment with them.

I'm a fan of stemware - makes it more fun to swirl.
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