What you may not realize is I’m very passionate about whisky glassware. Some may pish-posh the notion that glassware makes any difference; however, my real-world experience and head-to-head comparisons tell a different story. Because of those, I’ve settled on a Glencairn nosing glass to be the standard to which I compare others.
I’m not close-minded about my glassware preference. If there’s a new glass to be tried, I’ll review it. As such, when the folks at DuraDram asked if I’d do a review of what it has to offer, I happily agreed.
What is DuraDram? I’ll allow Adam and Dolores Dolan, the husband-wife founders who brought the brand to fruition, to explain:
“DuraDram is more than a whisky glass – it’s a new way to appreciate spirits. It’s a durable, yet flexible silicone, a material that never breaks, is thermally insulated to reduce heat transfer, and is freezer safe to chill your spirit without watering it down.
With DuraDram being made of silicone, you’re now able, for the first time ever, to use Forced Aeration. By gently squeezing the walls, you force the aromatics up toward your nostrils for more direct nosing.”
These nosing glasses are made from BPA-free, food-grade silicone and have a soft touch matte finish. Each glass costs $15.00 if purchased individually; however, DuraDram offers discounts on its website if you buy multiples. Currently, DuraDram offers two designs, the Dura Dram 2.0, which is shaped similarly to a Glencairn, and the Hexa Dram, which is hexagon shaped. Both are the same size: 4.5” tall and 2.8” at their widest point and can hold up to seven ounces. They’re also available in a variety of colors. They're designed in Texas and made in China.
The critical thing to remember is that you must wash the DuraDram nosing glasses before use. Aside from the sanitary issues, the silicone has an odor of rubber, and if you don’t wash them, that will interfere with the entire experience.
I’m curious about the silicone and how it will compare to glass. To properly assess these DuraDram nosing glasses, I’ve poured Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon in them and in my Glencairn glass. I chose Elijah Craig because it is 94° and readily available. I allowed the Bourbon to rest for about 15 minutes before nosing and tasting. I plan to offer general terms regarding the nose and palate; don’t expect full reviews of Elijah Craig because that’s not the purpose of the evaluation.
However, before I start, I must thank DuraDram for providing me this opportunity in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review of each. Let’s #DrinkCurious to find out more.
My first pour was in my Glencairn nosing glass, as that’s my “control” in this experiment.
Nose: The expected caramel, vanilla, and oak notes came through. When I inhaled through my lips, caramel rolled across my tongue.
Palate: The caramel, vanilla, berry fruits, oak, and pepper are the standard notes.
Finish: Medium to long in duration, vanilla, caramel, and oak remained.
Dura Dram 2.0 Nosing Glass
Nose: The aroma of the caramel was muted, but vanilla and citrus plowed right through. I can’t recall pulling citrus notes from Elijah Craig before. Taking the air in through my lips offered berry notes.
Palate: The texture was creamier than the controlled pour, and I found the same notes as the Glencairn provided, except the vanilla and berry were stronger.
Finish: Black pepper and dry oak overwhelmed the vanilla and caramel. The duration of the finish remained the same.
Hexa Dram Nosing Glass
Nose: I smelled no caramel, but vanilla, oak, and pepper were evident. A giant blast of vanilla hit my mouth as I drew in the air.
Palate: Like the Dura Dram 2.0, the mouthfeel was thick and creamy. The flavors seemed slightly flat compared to the Dura Dram 2.0.
Finish: The finish length was much shorter than the Glencairn or Dura Dram 2.0.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: One of the interesting observations that I would not have otherwise considered came from Mrs. Whiskeyfellow. As many of you know, she is disabled. Part of her disability involves her possessing limited hand strength and can experience spasms. A huge smile came across her when she grabbed the DuraDram glasses. She indicated she had no issues whatsoever holding them, with or without whisky inside. It fit her hand well, especially when she grabbed the base of each. It alleviates a lot of her anxiety about dropping the glass. To me, that’s worth a million bucks all by itself.
However, how it impacts the whisky enthusiast is how I’ve judged them. The good news is that there was no rubber residue on the nose or palate. That’s huge. Obviously, they won’t give the same tasting notes as a standard Glencairn, but the flavors aren’t completely off, either.
I tried to use the forced aeration and, honestly, didn’t get much of a change one way or the other. It tasted the same with or without that exercise.
I found these glasses to be weighted well, similarly to the Glencairn. They fit my hand well. The Dura Dram 2.0 felt more natural, but that’s likely because of how it is shaped like the Glencairn. The Hexa Dram had a more solid grasp, and I’m assuming it is the edges and angles. However, I didn't particularly appreciate drinking from the flat edge. It was easier to sip from the “corner” between the two.
I didn’t experience any leeching from these silicone glasses. That’s one thing that’s always kept me away from synthetic materials, especially plastic.
So, what’s my ruling? Would I recommend the Dura Dram 2.0 and Hexa Dram nosing glasses? I found these impressive. I won’t pretend I like them as much as the Glencairn, but there were zero concerns about breakage or care. I wouldn’t use these to evaluate whiskeys for review purposes.
However, the DuraDram nosing glasses can be crushed in your hand, and they’ll bounce back to shape unscathed every time. I also don’t believe the $15.00 price is out of line, especially when you start getting quantity discounts on four or eight glasses, and even more so when you look at pricy gimmicks like the Norlan or Aged and Ore glasses.
The Dura Dram 2.0 earns my Bottle rating. I thought it performed well and kept much of the Glencairn experience. The notes of the Hexa Dram were adequate but didn’t perform entirely as well on the palate and finish. If you’re used to a similar hexagon-designed glass, this will interest you, too. Both worked well, but I did prefer the Dura Dram 2.0.
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.