Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
I tend not to focus too much on glassware. Generally, I’m quite happy to stick with the trusty Glencairn, although depending on my mood, I also enjoy the use of a copita, have experimented with the Norlan and even like a good, old-fashioned tumbler from time to time. For the purpose of reviewing drams, however, the Glencairn usually does the business. Nevertheless, I was tempted into trying something new when I was contacted, at the tail-end of last year, by Cyril Dujardin from the Whisky Lodge, a shop that specialises in the sale of exceptional and rare spirits in Lyon, France. As well as being a retailer, The Whisky Lodge is also an independent bottle, an importer and distributor, and, the owner and creator of the Bhlas Tasting Glass.
The Bhlas Tasting Glass was designed 40 years ago by the founder of the Whisky Lodge. Designed for use by master blenders, it has now been made available to the public and Cyril very kindly offered me the opportunity to try it out – and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last several months…
Bhlas Tasting Glass Review
*Full disclosure: I was sent the glass featured in this article free of charge. As always I will strive to give an honest opinion on the product.
Let’s begin with some observations on the appearance of the thing. It’s certainly an attractive-looking piece of glassware, albeit a little unusual. It’s sort of like a wine glass that’s completely enclosed apart from a small funnel-like chimney that allows access to the aroma and flavour of the liquid inside. I’m not sure if it’s deliberate, or a happy accident, but the look also reminds me very much of a thistle. The flower of Scotland, no less!
The bulbous vessel sits on a rather long stem. I confess to having felt a little concerned by this, to begin with. I find the current trend for huge, swollen wine glasses with dainty little stems extremely off-putting – I always feel like the stem will break if you overfill the glass. You see, delicate glassware doesn’t do very well in our household. I have a young daughter and a boisterous hound and both my wife and I are extremely clumsy, sometimes going through several glasses a month. Couple this with an ancient dishwasher that has apparently sworn an oath to rid the world of all drinking vessels and this abode does not make a happy home for a nice glass.
I’m pleased to say, however, that the overall feel of the Bhlas glass is actually quite robust. There’s a pleasing weight to it and the stem feels quite strong and substantial. Apart from anything else, you simply wouldn’t fill a whisky glass with the same quantity of liquid as a wine glass, so you don’t get the unsettling top-heavy feel when gripping by the stem.
As for performance, I’ve found the glass very pleasant, both to nose and sip from. It feels like each dram I’ve sampled from it has performed very well and I’ve been able to pick up on a pleasingly wide array of tasting notes. In order to understand the nuances of the glass, however, I felt I should do a direct comparison with the Glencairn. So I poured the same sample of whisky into each glass and did a side-by-side sampling.
What I find interesting about such side-by-side comparisons, is it’s almost impossible to say that one is better than the other. Certainly, the experiences were different but better..? Define better? From the Glencairn, I picked up more spirit heat and maltier, earthier notes whilst the Bhlas seemed to shine a light on the lighter, fruitier aspects of the whisky.
In terms of tasting, I quite liked the control I had in delivering the liquid to the palate when using the Bhlas glass. It was quite slow to pour and therefore allowed for precision. I didn’t notice any major difference in the character of the whisky when sampling from one glass then another, though.
For me, the Bhlas is a nice piece of kit and one that I will continue to use – when the mood takes me. I don’t think it’s something for everyday use – I think the small, compact and relatively solid design of the ever-reliable Glencairn still gives it the advantage there. But from time to time, when I’m sitting down to take my time over a dram and when I want to really indulge my senses in the full experience of the whisky or maybe when I treat myself to something really special… Then, I think I might be tempted to reach for the Bhlas.
Cons: It’s fairly large and can feel a little cumbersome sometimes. Also rather expensive for a single glass.
Pros: Looks lovely and feels more robust than it first appears. Delivers a satisfying nosing and tasting experience.
Conclusion: Good product and a nice gift for those who take their whisky enjoyment seriously.
You can purchase a Bhlas Tasting Glass here (this is not an affiliate link) : https://whiskylodge.com/en/verrerie/213-verre-bhlas-verre-a-degustation.html
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