In much the same way that the “clothes make the man,” we’d argue that the decanter makes the dram. Because let’s face it. Whiskey is a spirit that’s best enjoyed amongst friends, and when you’ve bothered to tidy up, set the table, and put on your sharpest evening attire, the last thing you want is for an ill-advised bottle to become an eyesore amongst the rest of your presentation. And besides, whiskey decanters are more than just a decorative display piece, preserving their contents from unwanted oxidation whilst also protecting against unmindful guests. Sure, they may not aerate your expression as they would with fine wine, but there’s ample cause to one — especially if your aged spirit is of the double-digit variety.
That being said, buying the best decanter for your needs is hardly as straightforward as you might think. In fact, with all of the different designs, shapes, and sizes available these days, the sheer variety can get to be pretty overwhelming. For just as soon as you’ve picked a piece and clicked order thinking it’s “the one,” next thing you know you’ll have found another with a more interesting stopper or a slightly better finish. And let’s not even get started on how you plan to match that decanter with the rest of your glassware. In any case, if you call yourself a whiskey enthusiast, it’s to your advantage to pick up one of these decorative crystal containers. Whether it’s affordable or expensive, hand-clean or dishwasher safe is ultimately predicated upon your intended use. But at least we’re here to get you started with a list of the best whiskey decanters.
James Scott Crystal Whiskey Decanter
For those who are looking to elevate their whiskey drinking experience without breaking the bank, it doesn’t get much better than this crystal decanter from James Scott. For starters, it features a classic art deco design that’s sure to add a touch of 50s charm to your home bar setup. And because it’s made from 100% hand-cut crystal, you can rest assured knowing that its clear glass will show off your spirit without unwanted contamination. Whether you fill it up with a special single malt or even just your garden-variety go-to, this one is well worth a look.
Ravenscroft Thomas Jefferson Decanter
Thomas Jefferson may have preferred wine to whiskey, but that doesn’t mean he’d have let his spirit storage suffer. On the contrary — as you’ll find with this modern reproduction inspired by one of his pieces, the man was all about presentation. Hand-made in Europe from lead-free crystal, it sports a unique stopper design that’s meant to resemble a lone tree. Add to that an elegantly curved base with room for up to 47.5oz of whiskey, and the result is a decanter fit for a founding father.
Whiskey Peaks Mountain Decanter
Most of us yearn for the mountains on a day-to-day basis, but being stuck in the office working a 9-5 Monday through Friday means that we can’t exactly take off at a moment’s notice. However, rather than letting desk duty put a damper on your daydreams, just grab this decanter from Whiskey Peaks instead. It’s hand-blown from 100% glass and it comes with a beautiful mountain range in the base to bring the spirit of the outdoors in to your bar cart. You won’t find this one anywhere else though — it’s exclusive to Huckberry.
Nachtmann Aspen Whiskey Set
Over the course of its nearly 200-year history, Nachtmann has continued to produce some of the finest glassware on the market — even in the face of WWII bombing destruction and large corporate takeovers. In other words, they’re as committed to high-quality crystal as anybody, and their Aspen Whiskey Set is a case in point. Offering a strikingly angular design with a bevy of bold cuts and shapes, the stopper is, in many ways, just as distinctive as the decanter itself. And with two included matching tumblers, it makes for a value proposition that’s too good to pass up.
Villeroy and Boch Scotch Whisky Carafe
Villeroy and Boch has a rich history of glassmaking that dates all the way back to its founding in 1748. In other words — the company is well-steeped in what’s required to make some grade A crystal. Some 270-plus years later, it’s still managed by Villeroy and Boch family members, meaning that the longstanding tradition of elevated design is very much alive and well. At only 5″ wide, this Scotch Whisky Carafe comes in a bit narrower than most decanters on the market, making it an excellent way to round out your existing collection.
Wilshire Jewel Cut Decanter
Williams-Sonoma has long served as one of the premier purveyors of quality kitchenware, and it’s easy to see why when you consider this Wilshire Jewel Cut Decanter. Inspired by vintage barware, it was mouth-blown and hand-polished by Turkish artisans, giving it a brilliant finish and incredible clarity. Better still is the fact that this one’s not just for formal occasions — with its robust build quality and dishwasher safe design, it’s perfectly suitable for everyday use.
Cashs Ireland Cooper Ships Captain’s Decanter
When your love for the open ocean knows no bounds, do yourself a favor and grab this Captain’s Decanter by Cashs Ireland. Its design was originally intended to provide stability whilst at sea, with a wide, flat base to protect against the turning tides. And that’s not all — as a symbol of luxury (and superiority), it also featured a narrow curved neck and a decorative hand-cut stopper. While you might not need this one for any upcoming voyages, that doesn’t make it any less of a class act.
Glencairn Crystal Iona Round Decanter
Even if you don’t know the glass by name, chances are good that you’ve nosed a dram of whiskey in a Glencairn — they really bring out the best in the spirit. Given that this Iona decanter is also made by the same company, it goes without saying that it’s a cut above the rest. Thanks to its traditional design and fire-polished solid crystal stopper, it pairs nicely with a wide variety of glassware, making hosting a cinch. Oh, and as an added bonus, it even comes in a silk-lined presentation box complete with hinge and clasp.
Vicara Cerne Carafe
This Vicara carafe takes its name from the Portuguese word for heartwood (Cerne) and it couldn’t be more fitting. That’s because it was actually made using the molds from the dense inner section of a carob tree, giving it an organic aesthetic that resembles both the shape and texture of wood. But that’s not all — because of variations in the production process, no two are alike, effectively giving you a bespoke piece at a cut-rate price. Sealed with a stopper made from wood and natural cork, this is one decanter more than deserving of your top-shelf stuff.
LSA International Metropole Kiev Decanter
If you’re looking to add a bit of architectural insight to your collection of whiskey glassware, you can’t go wrong with this Metropole Kiev Decanter by LSA International. Inspired by Kiev’s beautifully brutalist cityscape, it was expertly mouth-blown in order to give it a uniquely tapered base with a long cylindrical neck. In practice, this means that along with an eye-catching design, you also get a voluminous decanter with over 60oz of storage for your finest spirits. Complemented by a stunning hand-grown stopper, it makes for quite the artisanal offering.
Tom Dixon Tank Decanter
It takes a truly talented designer to rise through the ranks without any formal training — especially when working across multiple disciplines. Such is the case with Tom Dixon, a renowned British creative with no shortage of accolades to his name, including honorary doctorates from Birmingham City University and the University of the Arts London as well as an OBE for his efforts. This Tank decanter comes heavily influenced by the rest of his work, with an industrial, almost beaker-like shape, a graduated tint, and a stopper that takes the form of a solid glass sphere.
DeCicio Hand-Blown Diamond Whiskey Decanter
DeCicio Artisan Glass is a Seattle-based glassware maker specializing in pieces that are as practical to use as they are pleasing to the eye, with each one being the product of painstaking conceptualization, design, and hand shaping. For instance, this Diamond Whiskey Decanter was made using the same techniques as traditional Venetian-blown glass, including everything from the color mixing to the cutting and polishing. With a 24-karat gold leaf stopper, smoky tint, and diamond texture, it’s bound to make an impression at your next dinner get-together.
Waterford Crystal Lismore Diamond Square Decanter
Few names in the glassmaking industry carry the same kind of cultural clout as does Waterford Crystal. First established in the Irish harbor town of Waterford in 1783, it’s since become all-but synonymous with luxury thanks to its fine drinking vessels and beautiful home decor. Whether you fill this one with whiskey, brandy, or bourbon, the combination of its iconic upright and ring cuts will undoubtedly bring out the best of your spirit’s rich, amber pour. When nothing but the best will do, look no further than the Lismore Diamond Square Decanter.
Nude Glass Alba Whiskey Decanter
There aren’t many decanters today that can balance the demands of hosting with those of daily use, but you’ll find that this piece from Nude Glass is perfectly suited to almost any occasion. For starters, it features a squat 7.9″ body, an addition that makes it much more stable and offers some 60.9oz of storage for your supply. And because it comes finished with a partially-deconstructed tartan pattern and a stark white marble stopper, it’s more than elegant enough to earn a spot on your table when sipping with some company.
Richard Brendon Fluted Cut Crystal Decanter
At the intersection of timeless tradition and contemporary design lies Richard Brendon, an esteemed British homeware brand with a reputation for elevating everyday living. The product of a partnership with Scotland’s Gleneagles Hotel, this Fluted Cut Crystal Decanter is one offering that comes oozing with 1920s art deco style. From its fluted base to its simple, purposeful stopper, everything about it has been designed to give an impression of the past whilst also looking to the present.
What Are Whiskey Decanters & Why Do They Matter?
There’s no denying that glassware can have a positive effect on your wine, but does the same apply to that special single malt tucked away on your top shelf? If you find yourself wondering as much, be sure to check out our guide to what whiskey decanters are and why they matter.