Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Flaviar Tasting Pack Review January 2016 ~ Fine Spirits Delivered

The Flaviar Tasting Pack is a subscription that sends a flight of premium spirits right to your door. If you live in the right place, of course. Surprisingly, my shipment arrived from Slovenia. I had no idea it was an international subscription but it is and it ships not only to the US but the EU and UK, as well.
Each month, as a Prime Member of Flaviar, you'll receive a Tasting Pack with three carefully chosen mini bottles of fine spirits. If you are unsure if you'd like to be a subscribing member, you can pick up a themed Tasting Flight of five spirits as part of a gift subscription.

We actually had a lot of fun with this! Some friends came over and I broke out the bottles for some tasting. They know I do subscription boxes but they were all surprised that you could get liquor delivered. The theme for the box this month was Whisky Festivity. While you can get any kind of spirit- rum, gin, vodka, scotch, cognac, tequila and bourbon, based on what I've seen whisky is featured pretty often.

The Flaviar box comes with a list of things to do to prepare for a tasting. I didn't go the mystery route but instead lined them all up and poured one of each for everyone. Then we tasted them one by one. Between each sip, I took Flaviar's advice and had water crackers to clear the palate.

The Cost: Trial month $18.99, then $24.99 /mo

What You Get: Three carefully curated fine spirits per month (sometimes award-winning top shelf stars, at other times crafty rebels) along with tasting notes and tips & tricks on tasting. You'll also get free shipping once per month on a shop order.
Glenlivet Founder's Reserve- This whisky doesn't get a lot of love online. I don't even pretend to be a whisky connoisseur so, yes, I looked it up. The brand gave it some stature in our limited whisky drinking minds but that's about as far as it went. Comparing these three whiskys left this Glenlivet Founder's Reserve in last place. The comments ranged from "too sweet" and "thin"to "not as nuanced.in flavor profile."
Laphroaig Quarter Cask- Released in 2004, this bottling was aged for around five years before being finished in a quarter cask for several months. The reviews online for this particular whisky are quite good.
This was the biggest surprise. Peaty, smoky, dark and golden. Spicy and full bodied. All the comments were positive. I was so shocked by the flavor because it was so different from the Glenlivet, which we had tasted first. This blew Glenlivet out of the water for sheer strength with it's kaleidescope of flavors. And the peat and smoke... Mmmm!
Auchentoshan 12 Year Old- A Scotland Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The 12 year old is smooth, fresh and nutty with a golden honey appearance.
This went down the smoothest of all three. I loved the sort of nutty freshness of it. It's sort of like being outside on a crisp Spring morning. It was also probably the most similar to what we are used to drinking when it comes to whisky. That variable gave it the edge and this was pronounced the best of the three.
VERDICT: This month's Flaviar box really was a fun tasting exercise. The Auchentoshan went down smoothly and got first place in our little session. The Laphroaig was a close second because of it's complex flavor profile. We probably could have tied the two for first because they were so different from each other but I think familiarity put Auchentoshan first. Both these two were leaps and bounds ahead of the Glenlivet. It's funny because since it was the first one we tasted, initially it seemed pretty good. After tasting the other two, there was no comparison. Re-tasting the Glenlivet drove it home.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, you can see what Flaviar is all about here. Currently, you can get a Tasting Pack but they'll be changing their program very soon (Feb 15th, I think) and doing away with monthly subscriptions. If you sign up now, you'll be grandfathered in so now's  your chance.

In the future, a quarterly membership will be available. It's called Speakeasy and will be $60/quarter. You'll receive access to premium and craft spirits, free shipping on anything in the shop and a quarterly themed sample box. There will also be live events starting in San Francisco. This will be a subscription for a true connoisseur of fine spirits who can appreciate the access to hard to acquire bottles. It's not for the faint of heart but those who enjoy sipping good liquor.

If you use Ebates for shopping online, make sure to activate it for 4% cashback on your purchases (either subscription or bottles). Never heard of Ebates? Check them out if you shop online a lot like I do. It's nice getting a little bit back (sometimes a lot!).

*affiliate/referral link was used in this post.


  1. FLAVIAR is not a Spirits Box subscription service. It's an online community of sorts and not a subscription service. You pay their subscription fees for the chance to buy small tasting boxes at questionable market prices and to be allowed to purchase from their online shop. The packaging and accompanying materials that are included with purchases are very well made and expertly/humorously written (they have someone there who's adept in prose), and they seem to be knowledgeable and capable in the world of tasting and spirits. If you'd like to subscribe to an online resource, and accompanying community and exclusive shop, then this is for you. If you're looking for a monthly drinks box, like I was, then this isn't it. Sadly, Flaviar's "marketing" is ambiguous and vague (maybe on purpose) on this state-of-affairs, thereby snagging unsuspecting monthly-box subscribers like myself.

    1. They've changed their business model several times over the last few years and I agree that there is a lot of ambiguity surrounding their subscription service. It used to be a monthly delivery at a premium price point, then a quarterly delivery at an even higher cost. Their website is lacking in many necessary specifics. Unfortunately old reviews like this one don't help since they were written before the changes. I'm glad you commented and I hope it helps anyone else searching for information.

      I don't know if you're still looking for a monthly drinks box, Cocktail Courier is one that includes alcohol. Others, like Shaker and Spoon, provides recipes and mixers. Or you can go all out and get Robb Vices, which isn't alcohol every month per se, but is a men's luxury goods subscription that includes quite a bit of it.