I don’t anticipate I’ll be evaluating a whole lot of stemware on this blog, but I thought the Silhouette was just too interesting to pass up and I had to write about it.
Check out the picture below and you’ll immediately see what I mean: The Silhouette is a standard, large-sized wine glass (like a big Cabernet glass) with a scoop taken out of one side of the top. It looks strange, but listen: The idea is that it makes for a better “seal” around your nose when you inhale the fragrance of a wine. You place the scoop part around your mouth (the site shows it going under your nose but it worked better for me under the mouth entirely, but over the chin), forming a more complete enclosure so the wine’s vapors can’t escape. You thus get a fuller, more complete sense of the wine than you do with a regular glass, in theory at least.
I tried the Silhouette vs. a standard wine glass and the experience was interesting and unexpected. I hadn’t really thought of it before, but smelling wine in the regular glass was awkward, while the Silhouette felt quite natural. Side by side, I got a sense of the wine more quickly with the Silhouette than with the regular glass, though eventually I found they both provided the same aroma and bouquet. The Silhouette’s was just a bit stronger and faster to materialize.
The Silhouette has its challenges: It’s difficult to clean because you can’t set it upside down to dry, and it takes some explaining to people who see it and assume it’s a broken glass. (I worry the maid might try to throw it out someday…) Though it’s 24% leaded crystal, the glass is quite thick, too. That probably aids with sturdiness: At $54 each, you aren’t going to want to replace your Silhouette often. (That’s about on par with the most expensive Riedel glassware.)
This glass could make for a great gift for the wine enthusiast in your life, and it’s certainly a conversation piece. You may only want to invest in one or two for now… and be prepared to start explaining when he opens it as a Christmas gift.