The 11 Best Crystal Decanters for Whiskey and More
If you’re looking for a stylish way to store your liquor, there is no better way than crystal decanters. Suitable for parties, offices, and everyday use, a decanter is sure to imbue any surrounding space with an old-world charm.
Vintage Crystal Decanters and Lead
As decanting whiskey and other liquors is an age-old tradition, it’s tempting to peruse sites like 1stdibs and Etsy for truly unique vintage decanters. However, using these can cause your liquor to be contaminated by unwelcome lead. Even through the 20th century, artisans were making their crystal glassware with high quantities of lead (lead glass is particularly clear and highly light dispersive). Unfortunately, lead crystal can be highly toxic as the lead has a tendency to leach into alcohol while it is being stored. For this reason, if you intend on storing alcohol for long periods of time, it’s best to stick to using a more modern decanter with origins you’re at least partially aware of. Though, if you’re only using the decanter for one special night, no meaningful amount of lead will transfer into the drink. It’s all about finding one that’s right for your needs.
Using Crystal Decanters
You have two options when using a decanter: use it for the night or leave your liquor inside it for all the world to see. With crystal glass decanters—which have no lead in them—you have wiggle room. Typically, decanters have been used to show off the clarity of the spirits inside. But, they’re simply a more stylish way to store any liquor. Be wary: you want an airtight seal so the stored alcohol doesn’t evaporate. Some people argue that decanting spirits has the same aerating effect as decanting wine, although that’s quite difficult to prove. Regardless of how you use your decanter, there’s one for everyone out there.
Where to Source Crystal Decanters
As mentioned above, 1stdibs and Etsy are just two sites you could browse to find decanters. While most will be old and unusable, if you’re looking for a unique art piece to display in your home rather than a vessel to contain alcohol, these might be the perfect places to look. Both sites also have a wide variety of modern-made vessels, which may suit your tastes. If you’re in the market for a decanter that’s guaranteed safe, home goods stores that focus on luxury items may be more your speed.
Made exclusively for Soho House’s outpost in Dumbo, New York, the vertical lines that characterize this decanter were inspired by the Brooklyn Bridge. Lead crystal ensures a brilliant sparkle and weighty feel.
Waterford is another name synonymous with crystal. This Irish-inspired decanter from the brand does not disappoint. A traditional grid pattern and square stopper give off a strong but measured impression.
Hand-cut lines dance and dazzle along the outside of this vessel—one of the only non-crystal options on our list. The glass is hand-blown for exceptional clarity.
Designed to mimic the pleating on Ralph Lauren’s classic tuxedo shirt, the ridges on this decanter are intentionally cut at an angle. Recently, the brand did away with its leaded collections in an effort to promote sustainability and safety (which means you can hold your liquor in this decanter as long as you want).
Modern and minimal with a deconstructed tartan pattern at the base, this decanter is perfect for anyone with non-traditional taste. A marble stopper brings a bit of texture to the sleek design.
If you’re in the market for a decanter that looks vintage but isn’t too traditional, this Claire Le Sage piece featuring diamond-shaped detailing might strike your fancy. The round stopper evokes a contemporary feel.
The glassblowers at French manufacturer Saint-Louis have been making crystal since 1829, creating one of the stand-out brands in that region. The Manhattan Square Decanter, with its stately form, is a testament to the quality of their craftsmanship. Drawing from both American and French design, this piece is one that is sure to wow.
Mouth Blown Handcut Crystal Whisky Decanter 2 Tumbler Set Handcrafted in Italy$675.00 BUY NOW
This set from Corinna Warm’s “Well” collection was originally commissioned by Wallpaper magazine for its “Handmade” exhibit at the Milan Furniture Fair. Now, the water-inspired set can be yours, thanks to 1stdibs.
This stunning set by Karl Palda may not be the best to show off your favorite whiskey, but it’s so beautiful that it doesn't even matter. Display the decanter on its own or with the accompanying glasses. Whatever you decide, it’s sure to make a striking addition to any bar cart.