People are really particular about their whiskey, and I’m one of those people. There are all these rules about how much whiskey to water you should be drinking if you’re one of those people who cuts your whiskey with water to release the additional flavor compounds. Some people swear that whiskey needs to breathe, and that a little aeration from transferring the whiskey into a decanter will enhance the whiskey’s flavor profile.
That’s exactly why so many whiskey enthusiasts are always on the lookout for the best whiskey decanter. They want that aeration. They want a better way to serve the whiskey and prepare it into mixed drinks or blend it with the proper amount of water. I wanted the total package, and that’s why I set out to find the best whiskey decanter for me.
These are all of the decanters I wound up being the most pleased with. Believe it or not, there actually is such a thing as a bad whiskey decanter, and I weeded them out of the bunch. These are my favorites of all of the decanters that I’ve purchased and tried out in my quest for the best whiskey decanter.
Best Whiskey Decanters of 2018
|1000 ml||Lead-free & hand-blown||Kentucky wooden base|
Diamond shaped design
|1150 ml||Lead-free & hand-blown||Handcrafted ship|
Kentucky oak wooden base
|FineDine||750 ml||High-clarity radiant glass||5-Piece set with glasses|
Twist style design
|Ashcroft||800 ml||All lead-free glass||5-Piece set with glasses|
Magnetic gift box
|Paksh Novelty||700 ml||Italian-crafted glass||Glass geometric stopper|
Sloped sides design
Prestige Diamond – Best Whiskey Decanter Brand
The diamond design allows the facets of the glass to really shine. When the light passes through the whiskey, it creates this glow that looks almost magical.
You really come to appreciate the amber color of the liquid inside. I was surprised by how beautiful the whiskey looked.
The decanter holds 1000 ml. Your average sized bottle of whiskey is 750 ml, so you can easily fit the whole bottle into the decanter.
The diamond shape makes the decanter look deceptively small. At first, I thought there was no way that I was going to be able to pour a whole bottle in there.
It really does look tiny, but it’s almost like the wardrobe to Narnia. I just kept pouring and pouring until the original bottle was empty and the decanter was full and there was still room to spare.
Besides all of that, it’s just a beautiful piece. Everyone always comments on how gorgeous the decanter looks, and I wound up having to get one as a gift for my best friend because I was so worried that he would steal mine the second I turned my back.
This is my favorite decanter that I own, and my guests get excited when I whip this one out. The seal is strong, though I wouldn’t turn it upside down.
It adds a whole new element to the whiskey drinking experience, where you appreciate the color and the serving process even more. Just cut yourself off before you’ve had too much to drink – you don’t want to get clumsy and damage this expensive decanter.
Prestige Decanters – Best Lead-Free Whiskey Decanter
There’s a lot of pirate symbolism with liquor, particularly with whiskey and rum, and the design of this decanter is a little bit on the nose.
It’s a cheeky, novelty design that I really appreciated. I couldn’t resist the urge to buy this, and I’m glad I gave in.
The glass portion of the decanter, including the ship inside, are hand blown glass created by an artisan. That’s just the way Prestige does things, and it’s part of the reason you pay a little more for their decanters.
The decanter itself sits on an oak base. The ledge at the bottom of the base is the right size for two small whiskey glasses or a couple shot glasses if you want to use it as storage.
I can stack average sized shot glasses a few glasses tall on either side. I like to do that when I’m entertaining because people like to serve themselves from the spout at the bottom of the decanter.
The spout is great. You don’t need to lift anything heavy if you want a drink because the drink will easily pour itself.
If you’d like to make a mixed drink, you can clearly see the proportions because you’re able to get at eye level with the glass.
I used this decanter to serve pre-mixed long island iced tea at a party. I measured everything out, poured it into the decanter, and gently shook it back and forth to stir it up.
Everyone loved that they could quickly and easily dispense their cocktails.
This is the perfect decanter for a lot of people. It’s great if you love pirates, and it’s great if you have a lot of friends and want to entertain them with some whiskey.
The spout on this, combined with the ingenious novelty design, make this decanter a winner for me. If you want a decanter that will look super sophisticated in a library or den style area of your home, this one is an absolute work of art.
FineDine – Best Whiskey Decanter Set
The four glasses are eight ounce, which makes them doubles.
They’re technically old fashioned glasses, but they’re universal enough to properly serve a decent number of whiskey cocktails (or just straight whiskey if you’re like me and you don’t need that much of a fuss with your drink).
The design of the glasses and the decanter twist up from the base. It’s almost like someone set down the hand blown glass bottle while it was still hot and rotated the top.
It has that simple yet ornate flair.
The decanter and the glasses have this perfect square footprint that makes them feel sophisticated. The only thing that makes me uncertain of the design is that the shape of the blown glass makes whiskey stones clang around inside the glass.
Speaking of ice cubes, that brings me to the quality of the actual glass. The glass of the decanter and the drinkware is so clear that it actually looks like ice cubes.
The intricate design work almost makes them all look cold and slightly melting – something about the set actually makes me feel thirsty just looking at it. It’s remarkably beautiful for how simple it is.
This is the decanter set I keep near my board games. It’s beautiful, but casual enough for a little entertaining.
It’s a traditional style set, and I love that you’re getting so much for your money. Most decanters don’t come with matching glasses, and I’m a big fan of the fact that you get a complete set.
In my opinion, this decanter is money well spent. I love looking at it just as much as I love using it, and the price is spot on. It’s hard to go wrong with this set.
Ashcroft – Best Glass Whiskey Decanter
It has that beautiful square footprint design with the twist that I love so much, but the difference is in the way the glasses perform, as well as the actual dimensions of the decanter itself.
This decanter is very slim. This makes it easier to store and easier to hold than bulky decanters that are shorter.
The internal portion of these glasses isn’t as affected by the twist design. I could put whiskey stones in them without worrying about them scratching up the glass, but I’ve noticed that the design is suited to something even better.
I have sphere ice molds for whiskey cubes, and these sit perfectly in the glasses. The shape of the glass really cradles the sphere cubes, allowing the whiskey to stay evenly chilled and slowing the rate at which the ice melts, preventing the whiskey from getting too watered down.
The decanter holds 800 ml, so you can easily pour a whole bottle of whiskey into it with a tiny bit of room to spare. The stopper is glass on glass, and it doesn’t have one of those annoying silicone flaps that get dirty and fall apart after a while.
Another thing I love about this decanter is the box that it came in. I still have it.
They stay safe and secure, and they won’t get dusty the way they would if I left them in a cabinet or on a shelf. The box was too perfect to throw away, and I’m still getting used out of it.
This is an excellent gift for a whiskey lover, especially when you consider the packaging. It’s a full set with the matching glasses.
It’s petite and stylish. Everything about it feels fancy, and perhaps a little luxurious.
If you want to be the host with the most, or if you just like feeling upscale when you’re enjoying a drink, you’re definitely not going to be disappointed with this decanter. I constantly get compliments on how beautiful it is.
Paksh – The Best Whiskey Decanter
This one definitely won’t break the bank, and you don’t need to sacrifice quality to get that price.
I bought a few inexpensive decanters, just to see if you really do get what you pay for. While some of them were basically shiny pieces of junk, this one really wasn’t, and I’m super glad I bought it.
Despite its modest price, this decanter is beautiful, thick glass. The design is somewhat simple – it reminds me of an antique medicine bottle.
The stopper is almost the same shape as the bottle, except its oriented upside down. The overall silhouette of the decanter almost reminds me of an exaggerated hourglass for its subtle symmetry.
It’s a small touch, but it’s a touch I appreciate. It’s beautiful Italian crafted glass, and the flat profile makes it easy to grip and pour from this decanter.
I took mine to a glass etching professional to have my last name put on the surface of the bottle, and it instantly looked like it was worth four times what I paid for it.
This decanter looks beautiful all by itself, and it’s very affordable. This is my choice for anyone who wants to have the decanter personalized or etched.
The surface is perfect for it. You can fit a large design or a small design, and with the money you’ve saved on the decanter itself, you can afford to customize it however you’d like.
It’s more than just a great budget decanter – it’s a great decanter in general as long as you don’t mind that plastic tip.
Buying a decanter isn’t like buying a sweater. The measures of quality are a little different. Not all glass is created equal, and that’s something you’ll learn quickly when you’re trying out a bunch of decanters. Choosing a whiskey decanter is a lot more than just finding a design you like – there are tons of things to consider and look for.
What is a Decanter For?
Decanters are for storing and serving whiskey. A lot of people like to transfer their whiskey from bottles to decanters simply because the act of pouring them aerates the whiskey.
It’s for the same reason you see people swirl the wine around. Getting a little air in there helps to release and enhance certain complexities in a whiskey’s flavor profile.
It just looks nicer when you present it, and you can really see the color of the whiskey through the prisms in the glass.
A lot of times, people use decanters to hide the brand. If you didn’t splurge on that $100 whiskey and you feel the $25 kind is just as good, you can pour the bottle into the decanter and nobody will know the difference.
Nobody will be brand blind – if the whiskey tastes good, they’ll set aside their preconceived notions when they can’t see the label on the bottle.
How Long Can You Keep Whiskey in a Decanter?
A lot of people prefer to keep their decanters in a dark place if they’re going to store the whiskey in a decanter for a long time, but it’s important to remember that whiskey isn’t like beer. The light won’t necessarily affect it.
How Much Should I Spend on a Whiskey Decanter?
If all you want is a basic decanter, you don’t have to spend a whole paycheck on one. Getting thin or brittle glass isn’t a wise investment.
If it cracks or gets dinged up, you can’t fix it. Thicker glass costs more money, and the quality is in the thickness.
You can get a thick-walled decanter in a simple design for a very reasonable price.
If you’re looking for something that will do more than just hold your whiskey, you’re going to spend more. They’re blown glass art at a certain point, and they’ll be priced similarly to any other piece of glass art.
Are Crystal or Glass Decanters Better?
The problem with crystal decanters is that they almost always contain lead.
Crystal is a natural source of lead, and while it may be fine for various knick-knacks or decorative objects, you definitely don’t want to risk lead contaminating something that you drink.
The longer your whiskey is in a lead-tainted crystal decanter, the more lead is going to inevitably leach into your whiskey.
In a few months, thousands of micrograms of lead can seep into whiskey from a crystal decanter. In drinking water, anything around or above 10 micrograms per liter is considered dangerous.
So when you think about that in liquor quantities, you’re getting up to 500 times that amount in less than a quarter of that amount of liquor. It’s really dangerous, and it’s not something anyone should mess with.
You don’t need to worry about lead contamination, and great glass looks just as beautiful as crystal. It’s not worth fussing with something that can potentially be dangerous.
I do have some lead free crystal decanters, and in my personal experience, I don’t find that the crystal itself makes that much of a difference in the appearance or the weight of a decanter.
For that reason, I prefer to stick to glass for all of my serving tools and accessories. It keeps things a lot simpler and there’s nothing to worry about.
How Do You Clean a Whiskey Decanter?
Crystal decanters need to be cleaned very specially. They’re super prone to scratches, and extreme changes in temperature can cause them to completely shatter.
If there are stains or if there’s a filmy buildup on the inside of your decanter, you can clean it with some crushed ice. First, soak the decanter with warm water.
Let it sit for a while so the water can break down the stains. Then, pour a bunch of crushed ice inside and start swirling it around.
The ice is abrasive enough to scrape the sides without actually hurting the decanter. Just keep doing it until the sides come clean, and rinse it out one final time.
Why Do People Hate Plastic Decanter Stoppers?
It might seem weird that people complain about plastic stoppers in decanters. They’re flexible and airtight, which is exactly what most people assume would be necessary to keep the whiskey inside fresh.
In truth, plastic stoppers really do a good job. They will create the seal that you need, and they get the job done well.
They get stuck, they get dirty, they come apart, and they separate from the glass components. When that happens, you can’t really use the stopper anymore.
This makes the bottle useless. That’s why some people feel that it’s worth it to spend a little bit more to have a solid glass decanter that won’t come apart. The glass is far more durable.
How Much Whiskey Should a Decanter Hold?
Whiskey decanters generally hold anywhere between 700 ml and 1000 ml. The average bottle of whiskey is 750 ml.
That’s why it’s important to check the volume of a decanter. It’s kind of aggravating to buy a decanter and find out that it’s too small to hold the whole bottle of whiskey.
Those smaller decanters will fit everything but the last glass of whiskey. If you don’t mind pouring yourself a glass to drink immediately, you’re fine.
A little extra space in the bottle won’t make that much of a difference, and higher capacity decanters aren’t usually more expensive than decanters that can’t fit a whole bottle inside.
Why Do So Many Decanters Mention Mouthwash?
You can technically use whiskey decanters for mouthwash. They’re safe for anything that contains alcohol, which mouthwash does.
Some people buy decanters (or repurpose old decanters) to display their mouthwash on their bathroom counter because it looks nicer than the bottle that the mouthwash already comes in.
It’s the same reason people buy refillable soap dispensers – they’re prettier and more decorative than the typical single-use bottle.
If you buy a new decanter and you don’t have a use for your old one, you can downgrade it to your mouthwash decanter if you desire.
In my opinion, it’s kind of foolish to buy an expensive piece of glass specifically for Listerine.
What is The Difference Between a Whiskey Decanter, a Bourbon Decanter, and a Scotch Decanter?
A lot of companies specifically label their decanters for certain types of liquor. The reality of the matter is that whiskey, bourbon, and scotch are all whiskeys – they’re just different kinds.
The only time it might make a difference is when you have all three at the exact same time. If you have three of the same decanter and they all contain a liquor of the same color, you’re basically asking for trouble.
Unless you want to label the decanters, get a different style for each kind of liquor you have. You won’t get things mixed up and accidentally mix a $150 scotch with soda when you meant to grab the plain old Jack Daniels.
They do make label tags for decanters that hang on them like necklaces, so if you’re really in love with a particular style, you can buy multiples.
You can also have the glass engraved with the kind of liquor you intend to store in the bottle if you know you’re always going to restock the same thing.
If you’d rather keep it cheap, you can buy a set of hanging gift tags to tie to the necks of the decanters. They look pretty, they’re only a couple bucks, and they’re really easy to change.
I like all of these decanters (and decanter sets) for different reasons. I’m always intrigued by decanters with interesting designs, but what matters the most at the end of the day is that I feel like I have a quality piece of glass that looks beautiful and works well.
All of these fit the bill for me. There’s an option for every person of every kind of taste, and they aren’t all exorbitantly expensive.