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 by millions around the world.  So, it makes sense to pay tribute to this exceptional drink by enjoying it from the best glass.  So, which is the best glass to drink from – be it Cognac or Brandy?

Of course, tradition dictates that we drink our Cognac from certain vessels.  And sure, we all want to respect age old traditions – don’t we?  Or do we?  As we know, here in the 21st century we can enjoy Cognac in many different ways, including mixed drinks and cocktails.

Best Cognac Glasses and Snifters

But for now, let’s focus on the traditional way of serving it – straight!  So here come Cognac Expert’s favorite 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 possible, and at the same time allows it to breathe sufficiently to further enhance the taste experience.

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.  With this one, you simply can’t go wrong!

Schott Zwiesel Pure Cognac Glass (snifter)

If you are into a contemporary look combined with old-fashioned elegance, then check out this glass.  Schott Zwiesel’s Pure Cognac Glass is a balloon style.  Similar to the Riedel Vinum Cognac glass, this one is also is made of thick glass and therefore gives the feeling of holding something substantial in your hand – nice!

Normally, balloon glasses, which have an extra large bell and close inwards towards the top, are made of thin glass.  But the Schott Zwiesel glass has a heavy base and relatively thick rim.  It really is the modern take on the classic Cognac snifter.

Schott Zwiesel Pure Cognac Glass snifter

Ravenscroft Traditional Cognac Snifter

This Cognac snifter, also known as the balloon glass, is a beautiful, classical Cognac glass to match that traditional cozy fireplace atmosphere. In contrast to the Schott Zwiesel snifter, it’s made of very fine, delicately thin crystal.  The shape is also extremely elegant, with not too much of a round “belly”, but more of a curvy form.  It’s 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

Normann Copenhagen Cognac Glass (balloon glass)

This glass is definitely the most avantgarde of all Cognac glasses. The shape of the vessel is similar to any other balloon glass, 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 that lends itself 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 that’s sure to be a talking point amongst your guests if you bring them out at a dinner party.

What they’ve successfully managed to achieve is to combine the traditional balloon glass with a contemporary Scandinavian design.  It’s pretty cool.

Normann Copenhagen Glasses for Cognac

Riedel Vinum Cognac Balloon Glass (balloon glass)

This is the most classic Cognac glass of uber-high quality by 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, no matter what your preference, with this glass you can’t go wrong.   It’ll be especially appreciated by those with a traditional approach to drinking Cognac.

Riedel Vinum Cognac Balloon Glass

Expert have come to the conclusion that the tulip shaped glass is, in fact, the better vessel from which to enjoy your Cognac.  But of course there are many ways to drink Cognac.  Ultimately,  it’s up to you, the drinker, to enjoy the experience.

So whichever glass you prefer is just fine.  After all, the whole ethos of Cognac is down to personal preference, so the glass you serve it from should mirror that fact.  The way you drink your Cognac is down to you, and this includes the type of glass you use.   Let’s hope we never boil the delights of drinking Cognac down to any kind of ‘standard procedure’.  Because, let’s face it, how awful would that be…?

Comments (3)

  1. Eric November 6, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    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:


    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 November 7, 2011 at 1:22 am

    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

  3. Jerry November 5, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Can you identify this glass and/or the spirit company that produced it? I love the inverted light-bulb shape. It’s perfect for swirling, sniffing and tasting everything in the spirit world. It has a very faded gold crest just barely visible and has a capital D on one side and a capital ” I ” on the other. There are two gold line circles just below mid-bowl which has the marking 4cl Bo and a 2 cl line below it. My guess is its from some German or French spirit producer of either cognac or brandy or liqueur. I sent a photo of this glass to Sophie & Max, but the did not post it with my reply.

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