Throughout the history of both the silver screen and the small screen, men of importance always seem to have a decanter full of whiskey sitting around.
Usually, these men are in their offices and they walk across the room — a client sitting in an uncomfortable chair before them — in order to slowly pull the crystal topper out and pour themselves a glass. If they’re feeling generous, they might offer whoever they’re with a glass, too. Or, maybe the guy has gotten home from a long day at work and he’s itching for a drink. He walks up to his wet bar, pulls the stopper, and pours a few fingers of whiskey into the ever-ready whiskey glass.
But why use a whiskey decanter?
For wine, there is a definitive purpose: a decanter lets wine breathe, which allows certain flavors and notes to express themselves after being stuck in a bottle; wine decanters don’t have seals as whiskey decanters do. Decanting wine can also remove sediment that might be at the bottom of the vintage.
For whiskey, though, there really isn’t a need for oxidizing or removing sediment. What it comes down to is aesthetics. If you want to look particularly badass or in control, then go ahead, put that whiskey in a decanter!
What to Look for in a Whiskey Decanter
When choosing a decanter, there are a couple things to keep in mind:
- Size: A standard bottle of whiskey is 750 mL, which equates to about 25 ounces. If you plan on putting an entire bottle in the decanter, you’ll obviously need something larger than that. If you don’t plan on putting a whole bottle in, you can move right along to the next point.
- Airtight seal: While whiskey oxidizes slower than wine, it still oxidizes. You’ll want a decanter with a good, sturdy, airtight seal. When you transfer the whiskey from the bottle to the decanter, you’re already taking it out of its optimal environment (the original bottle), so you don’t want to exacerbate anything by providing a constant flow of oxygen due to a faulty seal.
- Lead-free crystal: Most decanters these days are already lead-free, but it’s good to check anyway. If the crystal contains lead, and the whiskey sits in it long enough, you could chance the lead leaching into the whiskey and doing terrible things to your insides.
- Price: Finally, how fancy do you want to look? How much do you want to show off? Will you use the decanter in a group setting such as a party, or is it going to be only for you at the end of a long day of work? What you want the decanter for should affect the price you’re willing to pay.
With these points in mind, we’ve pulled together some decanters to fit a range of styles, tastes, and prices. For suggestions on what to put into your decanter when you get one, check out the whiskey winners of The Manual Spirit Awards 2019.
Ravenscroft Crystal Beveled Blade Decanter
A mix of simplicity and beautiful design, this decanter from Ravenscroft is made from crystal and makes it almost look as if there are cubes in the decanter for a nice visual.
Waterford Crystal Lismore Diamond Decanter
Waterford crystal is known around the world for its quality. This decanter is no different and is certainly a showstopper without being too much.
JoyJolt Atlas Five-Piece Crystal Whiskey Decanter Set
No, you haven’t had too much to drink, these glasses and this decanter are actually slightly slanted. The pulled glass makes for a neat, clean presentation that still manages a bit of fun.
Storm Trooper Decanter
It’s shaped like a stormtrooper. Need we say more?
Artland Mixology Whisky Decanter
Pretend you know science with this beaker-shaped decanter. Or, simply give it to the scientist in your life and tell them to make you some science, and by science we mean neat whiskey.
Royal Decanters Globe Decanter and Glass Set
Consider yourself a world traveler? Pick up this decanter set from Royal Decanters, which features a globe-shaped decanter with a ship inside. The decanter fits 850 mL, so you won’t have to worry about running out if you have the guys over for whiskey and cigars.
Dragon Glassware Diamond Whiskey Decanter
Dragon Glassware’s wares are known for their angular approach and this decanter is no different. Sitting in a holder like a diamond that belongs in a museum, this will surely be the star of your bar top for years to come.
Old Fashioned Car Decanter
Okay, so you can’t really see the whiskey in this one, but we dig the old time car that the decanter sits in. If you are worried about pouring, don’t, the glass decanter slides out of the vehicle.