Everybody knows how important glassware is, but it’s only when you do a tasting experiment that you realize quite how crucial this factor is. So, to provide you with some first-hand insight, we conducted a taste test using glasses produced by the famous manufacturer, Riedel.  In the test we used the four different glasses produced in a series designed specifically for drinking spirits: The Riedel Bar series.


We used the Camus  XO Borderies Cognac in this experiment. The four glasses in the series are among others the O Spirits / Destillate (a tumbler), the Vinum Port (a sherry / port wine glass), the Vinum Single Malt Whisky and the classic cognac tulip glass, the Vinum Cognac Hennessy.

So, what differences did we note with each of the four glasses? Well, the most important (and also most remarkable in the differences we noted) is the nose. After all, with cognac, the nose is the primary assault on the senses. And the Camus cognac we used is a very fruity, floral number – perfect for our experiment.

The tulip glass conveyed these aromas just perfectly. The bouquet is presented in true equilibrium. You first breathe in the flavour of flowers and fruits, and especially note the hint of violets and dried apricot, followed by mellow, woody aromas. The aftertaste and lingering finish of almond and cinnamon was the strongest using this type of glass.


Regarding the tumbler glass, it’s the alcohol that dominates. You get neither the floral aromas of the XO, nor the hints of almond and cinnamon. But the whisky glass provided the total opposite, with the alcohol being very soft. However, there was also the same lack of floral bouquet. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, because the edge of the glass is curved to the outside. And whilst this is perfect for whisky, in the case of cognac it allows the flavours to evaporate too quickly. This is the other way round with the tulip glass, with the edge curving to the inside, and the thin, almost sharp edge trapping the alcohol and aromas inside the glass.

And last, but not least, the sherry glass. On swirling, in the same way as you do with the tulip glass, you see the long, fat tear-drop like streaks that indicate the age and quality of the XO. On the nose, there’s a kind of dryness present. The smell of alcohol is subtle, but nevertheless is there. Even if this glass is a little too large for cognacs, it could be a good option for younger, fruity cognacs.


In conclusion, this was a great experience to see how differently a cognac behaves in various glass types. You notice that we haven’t mentioned palate, and that’s because naturally this will always remain the same. But it’s the nose that’s so varied depending on the glass you drink from. And therefore the overall balance of taste is totally different too.

We’ve fallen in love with these Riedel glasses. The Austrian manufacturer has further cognac and brandy glasses in their range, and we shall review these in the future.

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Riedel, or: A Difference a Good Glass Makes

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Max is a spirits expert and speaker, into marketing, technology, startups, and business development. He’s also a farmer. He likes tools and machines, Game of Thrones, and Better Call Saul. Included in his Top 10 Cognacs are the Audry XO and Bache Gabrielsen 1973.Max founded Cognac Expert in 2010 at his family’s estate in Poullignac, in the Cognac region, France. Started as a blog, today Cognac Expert is the world’s largest website about all things Cognac, a blog, and a specialized online shop featuring 800+ different Cognac bottles.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    John Rhodes

    Regards the comment about whisky in the Reidel whisky glasss.

    “And whilst this is perfect for whisky, in the case of cognac it allows the flavours to evaporate too quickly”

    Utterly ridiculous suggestion. Whisky probably has more need of an inwards curvature than most brandies as there tends to be more complexities in fine whiskies.

    I am all for comparisons and objective comments which are educational but that particular line seems very far off the mark.

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