Cognac glasses: The two basic types and their differences

For the purists, in order to fully appreciate the delight that is Cognac, there’s really only two types of glasses from which to sip your eaux-de-vie.  After all, the Cognac producers put a great deal of time, care and effort into producing one of the world’s finest beverages, so it is only proper to ensure it’s served in the best possible drinking vessel.  And these two glasses are known as a ‘Tulip Glass,’ or a ‘Balloon Snifter.’

Tulip glass

This glass is widely agreed by experts to be the king of Cognac glasses. The design provides maximum surface area for the liquid, whilst directing the full force of the bouquet upwards towards the nose to provide maximum aroma, flavour and impact on the senses.

Tulip cognac glass

Tulip cognac glass

The tulip has a long, elegant stem that climbs to a very wide bell.  This then curves inwards as the glass ascends and flares out a little at the rim – looking very much like the flower from which it takes its name.

Balloon glass

Also known as a brandy glass or brandy snifter, this glass tends to be more widely used than the tulip, although for aficionados, it’s known as the poorer relation of the two.

Balloon snifter

Balloon snifter

The snifter has a short stem and a wide bell that narrows as it reaches the rim. Again, this concentrates the bouquet and intensifies the flavour, although it does this to a lesser extent than that of the tulip.

The trendy looking Wobble glass is 21st century variation of the balloon glass.

Wobble cognac snifters

Wobble cognac snifters

If neither of these options is available to you, then you may have to improvise. Large belled, narrow rimmed wine glasses can be utilised if necessary and can provide an adequate substitute. Of course, if you choose to drink your Cognac ‘on the rocks’ or with a mixer, then you’ll have to choose the type of glass which best suits your needs for this particular concoction.

The whole idea of the perfect Cognac glass is to give the largest surface area possible, but to then close in at the rim in order to intensify the bouquet and ensure the best introduction to the palate. For those who drink their nectar in its pure and neat form, then you owe it to the beverage to have the best tasting experience possible.

Sources:  www.ehow.com

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5 Responses

#1 Peter on Mar 28, 2011, says:

So long as only has cognac in it! No ice, no mixers – it doesn’t really matter what shape the glass is so long as you can smell and taste the cognac.

#2 jon on Feb 9, 2012, says:

@ peter
so true i have the 2nd glass not the tulip and i throughly enjoy my cognac

#3 Dan on May 22, 2012, says:

I thoroughly recommend the Riedel Cognac Hennessy tulip glasses – best glass I’ve ever tried for cognac. I’ve tried cognac out of a range of glasses – red wine glasses; brandy snifters; cognac-specific brandy snifters; a generic tulip glass and the Riedel Cognac Hennessy glass. The Riedel glass is designed to concentrate the bouqet and flavours and remove any alcoholic astringency, and it does this amazingly. Will transform your cognac experience for the better!

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