You’re drinking your whisky wrong – Get yourself a D&L

Many people will have you believe that there is no “wrong” way to drink whisky. They will claim that as long as you’re savouring the golden liquid and enjoying its many pleasures, you can go about consuming it anyway you see fit. Be it neat, on the rocks, straight up or in a cocktail, the world is yours! Drink it how you please! Well I’m here to burst your bubble and say that whatever you’re doing, you need to stop. That’s right, consider me Buzz Killington, ‘cause I’m about to kill the shit out of your buzz.


Now, for the most part, those “many people” are right. And before you start calling me a hypocrite, let me explain. Whisky is a very versatile drink and with the sheer amount of regions, brands, age statements, malts, blends, etc, one would be hard pressed to say what, definitively, is the “best” way to drink the spirit. So where am I going with this? Well, I’m glad I asked! As any fan of whisky – or decent bartender for that matter – knows, there are unwritten rules when it comes to pouring and serving, especially when it comes to the vessel. If you don’t know these rules, have no fear, that’s why I’m here.

Let’s start with the most basic, shall we?

The Tumbler

No, not the website that you should be following us on, I’m talking about the glass. Perhaps best popularized by Mad Men’s Don Draper, this is the standard whisky glass that every beginner knows. You’ve seen it, you’ve drank from it and you probably own it. Yet what many may not know is that the tumbler is actually an umbrella term. In the whisky drinking system, this term represents two separate, yet equally important types of glasses. These are their stories.

Dun dun!
Dun dun!

The Old Fashioned Glass


Why use it:

  • You like your whisky neat
  • You like your whisky with ice (or chilling products)
  • You like a good cocktail (thus, Old Fashioned)

There’s a reason why this is the go-to glass for any and all whisky. Like the spirit, this glass is versatile and can probably meet any most of your expectations.

The On-The-Rocks Glass


Why use it:

  • You like your whisky with ice (or chilling products)

Very similar to the Old Fashioned Glass, but with a heavier base for more support due to the added weight and volume of ice or chilling products. Granted you can pretty much use this the same way you can an Old Fashioned Glass, but… why?

Moving on from the tumblers, we have their taller cousin.

The High Ball Glass


Why use it:

  • You like a good cocktail (besides an Old Fashioned)

I can’t really speak on this one much, because I honestly have hardly ever drank my whisky out of it. But I’ve seen people done so, and seen bartenders use it to make cocktails for folks. Me? I drink juice out of it.

The Tulip

So you consider yourself a whisky aficionado, a connoisseur of sorts. You drink your whisky one way and one way only: neat. As far as you’re concerned, whisky mixed with anything is blasphemy and you’re the goddamn Pope.

I mean they say it's wine, but...
I mean, they say that’s wine, but…

As many will attest, to fully appreciate the aromas and flavours of whisky, one must participate in a little something called “nosing.” I’m sure you’ve seen many a whisky review start with “Nose:” and continue to explain what it smells like. This is crucial, because smelling is just as important as tasting when it comes to truly embracing the whisky experience. This is where the Tulip-shaped glasses come into play. The tapered tip of the glass traps the aromas inside and funnels them to your nostrils. It should be noted that, similar to the tumbler, the tulip is another umbrella term.

The Glencairn Glass


Why use it:

  • You like your whisky neat
  • You like to experience all the nuances a whisky has to offer
  • You like taking things to the next step

The whisky glass of legend, despite only being introduced to the public in 2001. Designed by Raymond Davidson, with input from numerous master blenders, the glencairn glass is meant for those who prefer to sip their whisky and relish in all that it has to offer. The stem also provides a nice way of swirling your whisky to get a feel for how light or rich the whisky is.

The Snifter Glass


Why use it:

  • You like your whisky neat
  • You like to experience all the nuances a whisky has to offer
  • You like keeping it classy
  • You don’t care for the people who say it’s a brandy glass

You can apply everything about the glencairn to this glass, with one addition: you are one classy mother-shut-your-mouth.


And there you have it folks. Those are, for the most part, the classifications of the vessels you should use for whisky and when it is appropriate to use them. You knew all of this, right? This is nothing ground breaking, right? I pretty much wasted your time, right?

I told you, consider me Buzz Killington.

Introducing the Denver & Liely Glass


Yes, I made you read through this entire article to get to the sole reason I’m even writing it in the first place. Congratulations on hating me, you can thank me later.

Australian designers Denver Cramer and Liely Faulkner have designed and created a new way to experience whisky, and they have pretty much struck gold. I recently spoke with Denver about what inspired them to try their hand at a whisky glass and he said they “simply thought it could have been done better.” They were not “satisfied with the size and performance of the benchmark glasses (i.e glen cairn, neat, riedel)” and so, they “applied a bit of science, design and ritual and there you go.”

Makes sense.

A whisky fan for “just about all [his] drinking life”, the passion that Denver, along with Liely, has for the golden elixir is evident in the passion they have for their craft.

Now before I get into the glass itself, let’s take a minute to talk about the packaging.

Pretty legit.
Pretty legit.

Clean and simple. This minimalist approach is a true hallmark of the philosophy of Denver & Liely: “We simply design good products. Nothing more and nothing less.” As you can see, we received 3 glasses from their 4th batch. I can only assume that with every batch they get better and better at what they do.

And the glass?

The glass is not only beautifully designed, but since it’s hand-blown, it makes you feel like you’re holding an object filled with their sweat and tears. The etching on the base also adds a lovely personal touch and some authenticity to the experience.

But does it work?

Well, the glass combines the versatility of the classic tumbler (wide base that maximises the surface area the whisky is exposed to) with the functionality of the tulip glass (funneling the aroma to your nose). This combination makes for a nigh-perfect vessel to enjoy a wee dram. Denver hopes that “the glass will start conversations and deepen people’s love for the golden drop in the background.” Hard to argue against that. They are certainly on to something.

What really impressed me though was the weight and size of the vessel. It feels very sturdy in my hand, and the grip is comfortable. Pouring liquid into it, though, is like an optical illusion. That wide base I mentioned? Well it’s deceptively large. I think I actually poured more than I normally would, and considering I opted to not use a jigger, my hand-to-eye coordination was thrown off. But hey, all that means is more for me to drink, right? Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy drinking whisky out of this thing. To hell with moderation.


The gents down-under have truly raised the bar on what it means to consume whisky. If you love your whisky, you should love the way you drink it. And if it wasn’t abundantly clear by our logo etched in the glass, the D&L is now the official glass of W+A. After drinking out of this, I can’t fathom why anyone would want to use anything else.

20151010_165856 - Edit

What’s next for D&L? Well I’ll let Denver tackle that one:

“Batch 6? Ha, just kidding. Next is a tightly kept secret but I can tell you we have a couple more ‘vessels’ in development. As our products need to provide a significant difference to what’s already out there (and we have to love it), we’ll just keep on working on them. Both of us love the design process, so there’s no real rush. :)”

I felt like I was talking to myself, because that sounds like the perfect synopsis of Whisky + Architecture to me.

Batch 5 is currently available and selling out fast, so hurry up and get one. Or, you can pre-order Batch 6 now.

Cheers. – Peat

9 thoughts on “You’re drinking your whisky wrong – Get yourself a D&L

    1. I honestly have not. Their videos though make it seem very scientific, plus, it looks pretty cool. So hey. I’ve heard great things though. Have you tried it?


      1. I may… but I have so many glasses right now (visiting distilleries will do that), part of me thinks that if it’s not AMAZING, I’d be better off using $50+ buying a bottle instead. The Denver & Liely Glass seems nice, too.. but it would take trying it to spend as much for one glass as I could a bottle of something decent.


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