I have a natural skepticism about manufacturer claims that I hear about new products. I work in marketing, so I may have become even more jaded than the average consumer when it comes to what I read in promotional materials. Just because I'm skeptical, doesn't mean that there aren't products that really do live up to their billing.
I was recently sent samples of two Eisch glasses by Balzac Communications. One of the glasses is the standard Eisch glass, and the other is the Superior Sensis Plus series glass. The two glasses are practically identical in appearance and shape. The Sensis Plus glass feels slightly heavier, but both glasses feel comfortable in your hand.
Through some combination of trade secret and the fact that Eisch lost a court case, which originated with Riedel, forcing them to stop claiming that the glasses were "breathable", I have been completely unable to determine what is actually going on in the glass that would be any different from a standard glass. I did find out that the company claims that the Sensis process is not a chemical process, but that's about all I can tell.
I have chosen to taste from the two Eisch glasses, and have added an inexpensive glass to the mix that was purchased from Ikea. I do want to state that the Ikea glass has a much more round bowl than the Eisch glasses. The wine that I used for this initial tasting was a 2007 LangeTwins Merlot from Clarksburg, California. This is an inexpensive wine, going for about $13 a bottle, but I have found the LangeTwins wines to be pretty enjoyable wines in the past. I intend to post some more tastings with these glasses in the future, including some tastings of higher end wines.
Cheap Ikea Glass – On the nose I get a lot of heat and noise. The alcohol is out of balance on the nose, and I get some dark cherry, black pepper, and vanilla. The palate is like a cherry pie with some pepper and spice thrown in. I'm really not getting a lot of clarity or balance from the wine in this glass. That being said, I did only pay about $2 for it, so I guess I can only expect so much.
Eisch Standard Glass – The nose is somewhat more subdued than what I was getting from the Ikea glass. The heat isn't there, and I'm getting somewhat muted dark cherry and vanilla, with the pepper not standing out as much. The palate is pretty similar to what I was getting from the other glass, but with somewhat better texture and clearer fruit flavors.
Eisch Superior Sensis Plus – I am getting much more on the nose than with the first Eisch glass, but still not getting the heat that I was getting on the Ikea glass. The fruit aromas are much more forward, with the dark cherry, all-spice, black pepper, and vanilla harmonizing quite nicely. On the palate, the biggest change is that the flavors seem cleaner than in the other glasses. The improved nose on the Sensis glass seems to really carry over onto the palate.
There is no question that the Sensis glass shows the best on the nose, with the aromas standing out the most and coming across as the most balanced. The alcohol that was present on the nose in the Ikea glass is nowhere to be found on either Eisch glass. On the palate, the Ikea glass was the clear loser, with both Eisch glasses presenting more fruit and better texture than the cheaper competitor. The Sensis Plus glass was also the winner here, with more dark fruit flavors coming to the fore.
The primary drawback that some people will experience with the the Sensis Plus glasses is the cost, with the price per glass coming out to around $30. Most wine enthusiasts have reconciled themselves to the fact that you have to pay a little extra to be able to get the full potential from their wines, but the average consumer might have a hard time with the expense. I am holding back final judgment on these until I've tasted some higher end wines, but at this point I think that these glasses are probably worth the investment. Just be careful not to break them.