Riedel of Austria, famous for its varietal-specific stemware, makes both of these glasses, and both are intended for use with brandy and its variants Cognac, and Armagnac. How is this possible? They could hardly be more different.
L: Riedel Brandy Snifter / R: Riedel Cognac Hennessey Glass
The glass on the left is the iconic brandy snifter, as instantly recognizable as a martini glass. Its large balloon bowl is intended to display as much of a brandy’s aroma as possible. And the wide bottom is intended for cradling in the palm of your hand, warming the brandy to further enhance the nose.
The glass on the right, although named by Riedel specifically for Hennessey Cognac, is suited for any brandy, Cognac, or Armagnac, and is the one preferred by connoisseurs and professionals. The bowl still allows for appreciating the aroma, without accelerating the evaporation like a snifter can, and the tulip shape concentrates it. A similarly-sized and -shaped wine glass can work nearly as well.
While I enjoy stemware like this, as always my advice is to use whatever you like. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t have to slurp your beverage directly off the counter you’re good to go.
Find out more about brandy by listening to the Winervana Podcast Episode 10 – Brandy, Cognac, and Armagnac.
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