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What is the Difference Between a Carafe and a Decanter?

What is the Difference Between a Carafe and a Decanter?

The decanter and the carafe have long been a mainstay for enhancing and serving beverages, with a storied history dating back to ancient civilisations such as the Greeks and Romans. 

While modern methods of distilling and fermentation and advances in bottling have led to the two becoming less widespread, they are a no less striking and important inclusion to any discerning barware collection.

Cumbria Crystal is a staunch purveyor of the crystal carafe and crystal decanter, dedicating a space in many of our best-selling collections to these iconic vessels. We have also collaborated with the esteemed Hamilton & Inches to produce a highly collectable range of Sterling Silver Decanters.

What is a carafe? 

Crystal Carafe

Carafes typically hold wine, water or juices and are generally used for serving rather than storing liquids. They are considered a show-stopping centrepiece on the dinner table, whether a gathering with friends or a grand dinner party. 

The carafe turns the simple action of pouring and serving beverages into a real event, allowing you to turn your hosting up to eleven, encourage conversation and create wonderful memories.

At Cumbria Crystal, some of our most popular crystal carafes include pieces from the Grasmere and Helvellyn collections. 

FAQ: What is the difference between a wine decanter and a carafe?

As the name suggests, the wine decanter is intended for serving wine rather than extending its uses to a host of other liquids like the carafe. 

Wine decanters are generally broader in shape than a carafe, allowing the wine to aerate, which subsequently improves the taste and aids in developing complex notes.

What is a decanter?


Decanters are designed to aerate and hold liquids, typically spirits such as whisky or (as mentioned above) wines. 

Their shape is traditionally a flat-bottomed vessel with a broad middle section and tapered top; these attributes work together to help the aeration of the liquid. This process enhances the flavour and aroma of the liquid, allowing drinkers to experience their favourite beverage at its very best. 

Given that whiskies and wines are usually aged and bottled, decanting the liquid and encouraging oxygenation is recommended to enjoy your drink's true taste and smell. However, it is worth remembering that some spirits should not be stored for extended periods in crystal; you can read more about this in our ‘Is It Safe to Drink from Lead Crystal’ guide.

Cumbria Crystal is home to some fabulous decanters that will not only improve your favourite beverages but also look stunning among your barware collection. Popular choices from our crystal decanters include pieces from the Grasmere, Palm, Regency and Sabre collections.


FAQ: What is the difference between a wine decanter and a whisky decanter?

Though the two perform the same function, they differ significantly in shape. Wine decanters are taller and narrower in form, lending themselves to a plethora of elegant designs that look fantastic in crystal, bringing out the deep colouration of your favourite reds. 

Whisky decanters are ordinarily smaller than wine decanters and are typically square, with a stopper sitting atop the piece. The whisky decanter is undoubtedly the finest means of displaying and serving your best-loved dram, bringing out the rich amber hues of the liquid as light refracts and sparkles off the crystal. 


Should you have any questions about our crystal carafes or crystal decanters, please do not hesitate to contact the team using the details below. If you are gifting, why not make the piece extra personal with the help of our Bespoke Engraving service? 

Email: | Tel: +44 (0)1229 584400

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