Which Cognac Glasses and Snifters are the Best?

Cognac is known to be one of the finest drinks there is. Its history dates back hundreds of years and the rich flavor and aromas are enjoyed around the world. Now, how to be pay tribute to this exceptional drink when we serve a cognac, what is the best cognac glass for drinking brandy?

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How do we consume it in the “correct” way, respecting this age old tradition? As we know, cognac can be enjoyed in many different ways, including mix drinks and cocktails. But let’s focus on the traditional way of serving it: straight. Here come Cognac Expert’s favourite cognac glasses:

Riedel Vinum Hennessy Cognac glass (tulip glass)

Riedel has designed an elegant tulip glass for cognac, suggesting that the traditional balloon glass is not necessarily the only way to drink your cognac. In fact, amongst connoisseurs, this glass captures the aroma of the cognac in the best way, and at the same time allows it to breathe sufficiently to set free the taste. The glass has a long stem and a bell that opens up towards to top, slightly flaring outwards. The shape allows the nose to be concentrated towards the top, which makes the tasting experience even more special. The Riedel cognac glass it is a beautiful addition to any household that prides itself with serving cognac. You cannot go wrong!

Riedel Vinum Hennessy Cognac glass tulip glass

Riedel Vinum Hennessy Cognac glass tulip glass

Schott Zwiesel Pure Cognac Glass (snifter)

If you are into a little bit of a modern look combined with old-fashioned elegance, this glass is worth looking at. Schott Zwiesel’s Pure cognac glass, which is a balloon style glass. Similar to the Riedel Vinum cognac glass, this balloon glass is made of thick glass and therefore gives the feeling of holding something proper in your hand. Normally, balloon glasses, which have an extra large bell and close towards the top, are made of thin glass. But the Schott Zwiesel glass has a heavy base and relatively thick rim. It is the contemporary version of a classic cognac snifter.

Schott Zwiesel Pure Cognac Glass snifter

Schott Zwiesel Pure Cognac Glass snifter


Ravenscroft Traditional Cognac Snifter
(snifter)

This cognac snifter, also known as balloon glass, is a beautiful, classical cognac glass to match a cozy fireplace atmosphere. In contrast to the Schott Zwiesel snifter, it is made of very fine and thin crystal. The shape is also very elegant, with not too much of a round “belly”, but more of a curvy form. It is quite high for a balloon glass, hence the feeling that you’re drinking out of a slightly more special glass than your average snifter.

Ravenscroft Traditional Cognac Snifter

Ravenscroft Traditional Cognac Snifter

Normann Copenhagen cognac glass (balloon glass)

This glass is definitely the most avantgarde of cognac glasses. The shape of the vessel is similar to any other balloon glas, but the big difference is that it has no stem. This means that the bell of the glass is literally rolling on the table as you put it down. leading to a constant movement of your cognac to release even more aromas than normal. Although they may be a little complicated to store (as they have no sturdy base), they are without doubt a great surprise to cheer up your guests. With the Normann Copenhagen cognac glass, the traditional drink is crossed with modern Scandinavian design. It’s pretty cool.

Normann Copenhagen Glasses for Cognac

Normann Copenhagen Glasses for Cognac

Riedel Vinum Cognac Balloon Glass (balloon glass)

This is the most classic cognac glass with a high quality of this old, family-run glass company. A simple balloon glass with a low base and a large surface for the cognac to unfold its bouquet, with this glass you can’t go wrong. And if you’re more of a traditional person, you’ll appreciate this glass very much.

Riedel Vinum Cognac Balloon Glass

Riedel Vinum Cognac Balloon Glass

Expert have come to the conclusion that the tulip shaped glass is in fact the better vessel to enjoy your cognac in, but of course there are many ways to drink cognac – in the end, it should be everyone’s very own enjoyable experience, not a standard procedure.

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2 Responses

#1 Eric on Nov 6, 2011, says:

I am interested in what the experts think of the distinction between the Riedel Vinum glass pictured above and the Riedel Sommeliers Cognac glass pictured here:

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/riedel-sommeliers-cognac-wine-glass/

It’s got what looks like a wider bulb, so you’d have a bit more surface area exposed and presumably somewhat more fumes.

I did some research on this a while back and apparently the theory is that the open lip of the Vinum glass deposits the cognac on the front of the tongue where sweeter tastes of VSOPs would be picked up more readily, whereas the straight chimney lip of the Sommelier’s glass deposits it on the middle of the tongue, where… okay I can’t remember that part – somehow it’s supposed to be better for more complex cognacs.

I don’t know if that’s actually what happens in the mouth or not and I believe the concept of different kinds of taste buds being located in separate parts of the tongue has been debunked, but I’m still interested in whether experts prefer the open lip or the straight lip. I want to say I’ve seen pictures of the guys at the cognac conferences drinking out of the straight lip kind, but I may be misremembering it.

If a wider bulb and a straight lip is better, why are they better?

#2 Ken March on Nov 7, 2011, says:

The pictures are pretty, but what would have made this article much better is if some dimensions and other technical information for this stemware was included.

Riedel Vinum Hennessy Cognac glass (tulip glass):
Height: 183 mm, 7-1/4″
Capacity: 170 ccm, 6 oz
(My preferred vessel for cognac, btw.)

Schott Zwiesel Pure Cognac:
Height (mm) 171, Diameter (mm) 112, Capacity (ml) 616

Ravenscroft is lead-free, btw…
Snifter (pictured in article): Height 159 mm, 6 1/4 in., Capacity 591 ccm, 20 oz.
Traditional tulip (not mentioned in article): Height 178 mm, 7 5/8 in., Capacity 296 ccm, 14 oz.v

Normann Copenhagen cognac glass:
Diameter: 11 cm (no other info on their website, though they mention a Liqueur Glass, same shape, but 8.5 cm diameter)

Riedel Vinum Cognac Balloon Glass
(I wasn’t able to find this on the Riedel website, btw, though it is still being sold. Riedel is a leaded crystal.)
6 inches tall; 29-5/8 ounces

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