7 Best Whiskey Decanters, According to a Spirits Expert

Make a statement on your bar cart with one of these stunning whiskey decanters.

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Updated on August 11, 2023

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In order to answer the question: “Do I need a whiskey decanter?” one first must determine their relationship to the word “need.” I spent the better part of a decade working in restaurants with well-executed beverage programs, and a sommelier masterfully transferring an expensive bottle of wine into a fancy decanter was a regular occurrence. In contrast, I’ve never seen anyone professionally decant a whiskey—or any other spirit for that matter. With wine, the decanting process serves a number of vital functions: it aerates a wine that may need to “open up” with some oxidation; it also helps sequester sediment, which is an undesirable element that can befall older wines. Neither of these two issues affect spirits to a significant degree.

If decanters do not serve as vital a function for spirits as they do for wine, then why would someone need one? Well, because they’re nice! When eating and drinking, the experience is influenced just as much by how you’re consuming the thing as the thing itself. An expensive single malt Scotch is not the same out of a paper cup than it is from a gorgeous old-fashioned glass. The same applies for decanters. If transferring your favorite spirit into a beautiful vessel brings you pleasure, by all means. And because decanters do not serve a vital function, you’re far freer to have more fun with them, picking them out for how they make you feel, rather than their technical specifications. That said, if you are planning to use a decanter for long-term storage, make sure you find one with a stopper, and do your best to keep it away from heat and sunlight.

So rather than asking if you "need" a decanter, ask yourself if you want one, and if that answer is yes, here are some great ones to check out.


If you want to have (or give) the one decanter to rule them all, this is the one. Produced by the legendary Alsatian glassmaker Lalique, this sturdy-yet-elegant piece is a stunning (if extremely expensive) addition to any home bar. One thing to note on crystal decanters: they contain lead, which can leech when coming into contact with the acidity of wine, so reserve this only for spirits to be on the safe side.

Crate & Barrel

There seems to be no upper limit on how much you can spend on a decanter if you’re looking to splurge, but if you want to grab something modest but striking, this charming decanter is a great pick. Its square design makes it a great neighbor on a crowded bar cart, and the textured sides make handling worry-free.

Williams Sonoma

When selecting a decanter, it’s important to note that crystal or any other lead-containing material is not recommended for storing wine because the acidity will leach lead into the liquid. That’s not an issue when storing spirits, but if you want an all-purpose decanter, it’s best to seek out lead-free options like this lead-free crystal decanter that's also available at a more accessible price point than our best overall pick, another lead-free crystal option.

Neiman Marcus

This decanter is a clever fusion of form and function. This stackable set is perfect for those of us with constraints on how much of our living space we can devote to recreational beverages. I would advise caution against stacking too high, especially when there’s alcohol involved.


Truly unique gifts are the best answer to the age-old question, “What do you get the person who has everything?” An off-the-shelf fancy decanter is all well and good, but Grain + Oak offers a relatively easy way to customize a decanter (plus glassware, if you like) by uploading a black-and-white image during checkout. Plus the decanter's sleek but middle-of-the-road design acts as a blank canvas for your design, allowing the uniqueness to shine through. Choose from purchasing the decanter on its own or as a set with the decanter as well as two or four glasses.


Every item in Baccarat’s “Harmonie” collection is instantly craveable. The clean long line of each piece would be a stylish addition to any type of overall decor. The engraved pinstripes add a dimension of brilliance and shine to whatever liquid is inside. We’re also partial to the very elegant rounded version of this decanter, but it seems to be in short supply.

The Wine Savant

The benefit of being released from the demands of practicality is that you are free to be as absurd and campy as you want. Seriously, who can reject the charms of a reindeer-shaped decanter where the liquid goes down to the hooves and pours from an antler tip? My only reservation with this one is the stopper, which is a conventional cork and may need to be replaced periodically.

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