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Unveiling Aromas: Glassware's Influence on Flavour Perception of Drinks

pairing glasses for aromas

It is not for naught that bartenders and mixologists are fastidious about choosing the right glassware for spirits and cocktails, according to what goes into making the drink. In crafting beverages, mixologists work with several ingredients including tons of aromatics like lavender or rose water or even elderflower. Some spices and herbs also introduce an inviting perfume into the drink along with imbuing rich and intense flavours, making aroma just as significant to mixology as taste and texture.

During a wine or whisky tasting too, experts often ask participants to swirl their drinks because this releases the deeper fragrances inherent to the spirit, enhancing the overall experience of enjoying the flavours of a drink. Aromas are then undoubtedly affected by the glassware in which the drink is served and the variety, shape and depth of a glass can have quite an impact on the smells released by some of our most favoured liqueurs.

Pairing glassware with drinks means gaining a deeper knowledge of how a crucial aspect of a cocktail, its fragrance, is impacted by the container in which it is poured. Here’s how glassware can impact aromatics, influencing your overall experience of drinking a cocktail:

Shape Directs Aromas

The shape of any glassware is crucial to releasing the aromas in a drink. This is particularly true for a spirit like whisky which is often served in a tulip-shaped container. The glassware when swirled allows the aromas to concentrate and they are then released towards the nose for a more intense experience. The fragrance of the drink wafts directly from the glass to the rim and when the vessel touches the mouth, the smell is automatically transferred to the nose, enhancing your tasting experience. On the other hand, glasses which have a wider bowl allow air to circulate more for a gentler olfactory experience as the fragrance is released gradually from a broader surface area.

Texture And Etching

Glassware is designed in a way that a connoisseur will enjoy a drink to the fullest without compromising on its flavour. A glass which has an intricate etching or a slightly coarse texture can have an impact on the way the liquid and aroma is distributed in the container. Textured surfaces play a role in creating more nucleation points for the bubbles in drinks containing soda or other carbonated mixers and allows for more aromas to be released as the bubbles rise up.

Clean Glassware

A lot of the time, something as basic as clean, smudge-free glassware can have an impact on the aromas exuded by a drink. If there is leftover soap or a faint smell of a drink the glass held earlier, it can become an irritant because it will mask the actual aroma of the cocktail. So, clean glassware becomes the most potent vessel to serve a drink. At other times, if the glass carried spices or any other aromatic, the fragrance left behind can add to the complexity of your drink assuming you use the same glass immediately after downing your previous mix. 


Glassware can be made out of different kinds of sparkly materials. One of the most prominent materials used for making quality glasses is crystal. This has an impact on the way a whisky would release its robust aromas because crystal glasses enhance the brilliance and clarity of a spirit and concentrate its flavour. This leads to the aromas wafting in a more intense manner whereas a metal container keeps your drink cool but does little to enhance the pleasure of its scent.

Drink Type

The type of drink that is poured into a glass has a role to play in how far the container can help to celebrate its potent flavours. A wide-brimmed glass is often used to pour a delightful, aromatic cocktail because the glass releases these smells more potently. However, if you are serving a drink like champagne, be sure to use a narrow flute glass which focuses more on releasing its bubbles. Aromatics and fragrances generally require glasses which will allow these smells to be released freely for the connoisseur to enjoy the most inviting olfactory sensations.

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