I have had the opportunity to purchase a few whiskey flasks in my day, with some of them ranging from exciting, modern, and sleek to some being vintage and dating back to the prohibition that I acquired from an auction.
Some whiskey flasks I use for my own personal undertakings, some of them I have purchased for gifts, and others for my collection of rare vintage whiskey flasks. They all have their unique characteristics, and my favorite or best changes depending on what type of flask the situation calls for.
The best whiskey flask can depend on a few factors, and these will change depending on the person, the flask, and the situation it calls for. Best whiskey flasks could be categorized by their design, the material they are made from, their price, or even their heritage. Hence, there is no clear overall winner when it comes to the best whiskey flask, but rather the “best” is chosen by a characteristic based on the person choosing it.
This article will go through the history of the whiskey flask and how it came into inception, how it changed over time with its rise and fall in popularity during the 18th century, prohibition, and to date. We will also cover what characteristics of a whiskey flask would make it good, and these factors will include several detailed elements.
We will then briefly cover how whiskey flasks are made, if they taste different in various materials, and if they are worth your time and money – finally ending with a review based on price, where I will give you a budget flask option along with a mid-range and high-end option.
Whiskey flask overview
When one thinks of a whiskey flask, they may think of a wino hitting a swig behind a bar in a dark alley (not very appealing).
However, in history, whiskey flasks have catered to the wealthy and elite, having illustrious designs, being made from precious metals, and being sold as priceless heirlooms.
Perhaps the whiskey flask’s appeal has been lost somewhat and faded since the time of prohibition, but they still hold their place in society and are not to be looked down upon.
They are now more than ever made of expensive materials, have modern designs, and not only cater to the avid whiskey connoisseur but also to the average joe who needs a gift or wants a great-looking decorative ornament placed on their bar.
- Read our guide of What Does Whiskey Taste Like before you decide to purchase a whiskey flask.
The history of whiskey flasks
When asked about a whiskey flask, most people would think and say it was designed and conceptualized in the 20th century during the time of prohibition.
However, they would be wrong. We can trace the whiskey flask or, rather, containers that brought about the invention of the whiskey flask back to the stone age. Humans at that point in time would use animal skins to house fermented fruits such as grapes.
The middle ages brought about the need for pilgrims to carry liquids such as water and oil across long distances. These flasks were made from clay molds and often had markings and symbols etched onto them.
These etchings and marking would include representations of saints and saviors. In addition to flasks made from molds, people would remove the insides of hard fruits and store their spirits within them.
As time passed and the middle ages rolled around, the distillation process became more advanced, and alcohol could stay fresh for much more extended periods of time, whereas wines and ale needed to be sealed in airtight containers; otherwise, they would spoil.
Gin became a prevalent spirit, and women would store it in pigs’ bladders, hide them under their dresses, and smuggle them aboard ships. This period in time also brought about the invention of metal and glass flasks.
The whiskey flask’s design and style (hip flask) as we know it today was ushered in during the 18th century and was mainly used by members of the upper-class social elite (the gentry) being made from silver or pewter. During the 19th century, the Masonic flask became popular due to the expansion of the Masons.
Masons would attend group gatherings in that time era, and they were expected to bring their own alcohol. Hence, getting an alcohol-filled flask was the way in which they did it. The production of these flasks used glass as their primary material, and the process by which they were made was by glass blowing.
All flasks from this time period were embossed with markings and symbols based on the Masonic culture. These markings were included in the production process.
The prohibition saw the rise in popularity of the whiskey flask (hip flask) like never before. Prohibition was the United States passing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibited the production, distribution, or consumption of all alcohol throughout the country.
Due to prohibition, the population during that time then turned to the whiskey flasks (hip flasks) in order to conceal and hide their alcohol. This is where whiskey flasks with curvature in their shapes began to be produced since this was a way to help conceal the flask against a person’s body more efficiently.
Whiskey flasks gained such notoriety that the State of Indiana banned the sale of whiskey flasks entirely.
Times have changed since then, with prohibition ending almost 100 years ago. Nowadays, people purchase whiskey flasks because they are connoisseurs, to give as gifts, and to have as decorations and ornaments.
You still get the die-hard whiskey fans that have flasks for when they go hunting or for little nips when they are out on the town and prefer to drink the top-shelf stock instead of what bars serve.
What makes a good whiskey flask?
We can look at a few factors that will contribute to making a good whiskey flask. These factors will influence price and appeal directly, and when considering which is the best whiskey flask, no one aspect will stand out above the other but what appeals most to the individual purchasing it.
The factors that will directly affect price and appeal are design, markings, the material it is made from, the size (volume of liquid held), and optional extras (accessories).
1. The design
The design of a whiskey flask can vary widely, and the designs include coming in different shapes and sizes. Even the cap of a whiskey flask nowadays is designed with a specific purpose.
Shapes and sizes
Depending on your needs and what you intend to do with your whiskey flask (in terms of how you will use it), shapes and sizes can vary. Some are large, small, round, curved, flexible, tall, short, thin, and fat. There are more shapes and sizes than you think, and we will see which ones make it into our list of the best whiskey flasks.
Some caps are designed to be airtight, while others are intended to be the shape of a shot glass (for obvious reasons). Some are even designed with a finger hole so you can swing it around or put a rope through it can carry it around your hip while camping.
Others are designed to be removable from the flask, while some are designed to be fixed. All these factors play a part in the price and popularity.
From the inception of whiskey flasks, manufacturers and flask makers have put markings onto their flasks. Initially, flasks were marked, engraved, and etched with details about the flask, including its origin, maker, capacity (liquid volume), the inspector, and owner.
Some modern-day flasks still incorporate a few of these traditional attributes, while others are engraved and monogrammed with pictures, patterns, lettering, wording, and phrases.
Markings on a whiskey flask and what the markings contain will definitely add to a whiskey flask’s appeal and price, enticing people with a sense of heritage and some with a sense of modern style. It all depends.
3. The material
Plastic whiskey flasks
Plastic flasks have started appearing in more recent times, and these are super light in weight. They are great because they don’t run the risk of breaking or shattering and are far more inexpensive than their pewter, sterling silver, stainless steel, and glass counterparts.
In addition to being affordable, they are BPA free which means they are safe to store alcohol in.
Sterling Silver whiskey flasks
Sterling silver whiskey flasks are the most expensive flasks you can purchase due to silver being a precious metal. The price ranges for a sterling silver whiskey flask can range in the thousands of dollars. Whiskey flasks made from sterling silver are combined with other metals to give it strength and durability so it can last for a lifetime.
Stainless steel whiskey flasks
Most people will purchase stainless steel whiskey flasks today because of its strength as a material and its affordability. It is a metal that is rust and stain-resistant as well as corrosion-resistant. Stainless steel is ideal because it is easy to clean, durable, and for the most part, scratch-resistant.
Glass whiskey flasks
Flasks and containers made from glass are arguably the material that has been used for the most extended period of time throughout history. Today’s glass whiskey flasks are usually enclosed in a metal casing of some sort for safety’s sake, with their lids being fashioned into metal caps.
Pewter whiskey flasks
Pewter is an ideal material for flask making because it is so malleable. One thing to note is that it is between the price ranges of sterling silver and stainless steel, with sterling silver being the costliest flask to purchase.
Pewter flasks made today are sufficient to store alcohol in and to use; however, vintage pewter flasks were manufactured using a high quantity of lead and should not be used to store liquor.
Due to the fact that we live in a modern age, manufacturers have not stopped using only the materials I have listed above for manufacturing whiskey flasks.
Whiskey flasks are now also made from other materials such as titanium, ceramic, copper, and tin. These flasks will range in price depending and should not be overlooked if you are in the market for obtaining something genuinely extraordinary.
4. Whiskey flask sizes
Whiskey flasks range in sizes from a flask so small that it holds the amount of one shot to flasks that can hold up to 2 liters of alcohol.
However, the most common size is 8 oz, which is the equivalent of 5 shots. Other standard sizes are 5, 6, 7, and 10 oz.
The size of the flask will play a role in its price and in its function. A smaller flask may be purchased as a gift, while a larger one would be purchased for use.
5. Optional extras (accessories)
In today’s consumer market, you cannot purchase something without accessories that go along with it, and whiskey flasks are no different. This might not phase a person who is buying it for a gift, but for a whiskey flask connoisseur, these might be a make-or-break deal.
Accessories that may be included in your whiskey flask purchase or sold separately include replacement caps, a flask funnel, straws, shot glasses, bottle openers, and holders, all of which can be personalized and made from different materials.
These accessories may not make a whiskey flask better; however, they should not be overlooked if you are looking for one to purchase as a set and or to have as a decorative ornament that sits on your bar.
How is a whiskey flask made?
Depending on the material used, whiskey flasks are made by different manufacturing processes. This would also definitely impact the flask’s price and quality, making them sort after and, in some cases, even rare.
Does whiskey taste different with different materials?
When drinking whiskey from a glass, the size and shape will definitely influence the flavor and, in some cases, the smell. The nose is weak, so you will need a glass that concentrates the vapors allowing you to smell and taste it more clearly.
Regarding flasks, more than likely, the flask’s material will not affect the taste. Another thing to remember is that you won’t be storing your whiskey in your flask for long periods of time; hence, no variation in flavor and smell should occur.
Is a whiskey flask worth it?
Well, that all depends on what the reason for purchasing one is. As we now know, you get a wide variety of flasks in different shapes and sizes, made from other materials, that come in various sizes, and may include many or no accessories.
You have to take into consideration why you are purchasing a whiskey flask. Is it for a gift, for daily use, for a decorative ornament, or for another reason?
With these factors come others that are not so tangible, and they may include personal preference and style. Whatever the reason for purchasing one, there are many that suit different tastes, and the bottom line is they are all worth it.
- You can also consider purchasing Whiskey Decanter Set which is also a great way to collect and consume the whiskey.
The best whiskey flask
I have compiled a list of the best whiskey flasks with regards to price range, from a budget option through to an expensive high-end option. We could compile a “best” list that could consider other factors like style, materials, size, every-day use, and more.
However, we will leave those for another article.
Best budget whiskey flask
Anpro Stainless Steel Hip Flask with Funnel 8 oz
This stainless-steel flask holds 8 oz, features a secure hinged screw-top lid with the cap attached to the flask, so you won’t ever have to worry about losing it. It has been laser welded for a leak-proof seal and offers high durability, which means you can use it constantly.
Check out this flask on Amazon here…
Best mid-range whiskey flask
English Pewter Company 6oz Pewter Liquor Hip Flask with Luxury Brown Leather Pouch
This beautifully designed flask is handmade by master craftsmen and women in Sheffield, England. It is a 6 oz pewter flask that features a genuine leather pouch.
It has a sleek and elegant design with the English Pewter Company’s markings featured in the top corner. It includes a funnel and velvet bag and is presented in a cream and black presentation box.
Check out this flask on Amazon here…
Best high-end whiskey flask
English Pewter Company Novus Flask
Making it to our top spot is again a whiskey flask from the English Pewter Company. This flask is 5.5 oz and comes complete with a genuine leather pouch. This Novus flask is the first of its kind with a registered design. It comes with a funnel and velvet bag just like its mid-range option, as well as being supplied in a cream and black presentation box.
Check out this flask on Amazon here…
We can now see that whiskey flasks come in various sizes, shapes, materials, designs, and styles. They are dating back to the 18th century when the elite and few used them. During prohibition, they were banned and used by everybody who wished to have a drink but not end up in jail.
Still, today where many different types, colors, styles, designs, and materials are used, the whiskey flask is still considered an elegant and sophisticated article of alcohol history.
The best whiskey flask could be considered an open-ended argument because you could base the criteria on almost anything. The winners in each category would come out differently depending on the situation, person, and preference.
We ended up giving you the best options on price, and this is a great place to start.