See my overview of Flaviar’s offerings here. As a reminder, I receive affiliate marketing revenue from the Flaviar banners and links on this page, so this cannot be considered an objective review! Feel free to call me a shill in the comments below.
I hate buying full bottles of whisky without knowing in advance what I’m paying for. After exhausting the supply of drams at my local bars, I now have to resort to finding sample-size whisky bottles from retailers. I’ve found that the 50ml “Airplane bottles” or “minis” you find at large liquor stores have a very limited selection – very few single malts or high-end whiskies bother to release 50ml minis. And, since US law makes the re-bottling of liquor into smaller bottles illegal, the only real sources are overseas: Master of Malt’s Drinks by the Dram and Flaviar. There are a few important differences: Master of Malt sells a wider selection and you can choose individually-priced bottles, but they are all only 30ml. Flaviar sells tasting “packs” of 5 samples each, which are assembled by Flaviar (no mix-and-match), but they are better labelled, come with more information in the box, and are 45ml each. You can choose individual packs for $44 to $50 (or more), or subscribe (first month $25, subsequent months $40) to get a new pack each month. Note that the packs are not all whisky! You can opt to swap out a pack you don’t want for one of the regularly-available ones, or put the cost of your month’s subscription toward a full bottle of something instead. Subscriptions auto-renew monthly and can, of course, be cancelled at any time.
Flaviar was kind enough to send me a second tasting pack to review (last time I reviewed the “Welcome Pack”): Ryevolution. The pack contains 45ml samples of Rittenhouse 100 Rye, Zuidam Millstone 100 Rye from the Netherlands, Verso Rye from Kyrö distillery in Finland, Few Rye from Few Spirits in Chicago, and Prichard’s Rye from Tennessee. That’s quite a lineup, and it’s refreshing to see a list of ryes that doesn’t just include a bunch of sourced MGP/LDI ryes! Expect to see reviews of these later (I love getting review samples for the blog without having to buy full bottles!).
As before, the glass bottles (vials?) are well-sealed and well-protected by the packaging, but without any styrofoam or bubble wrap to dispose of. The vials are accompanied by tasting notes and suggestions for how to run a tasting party for three people (I’m not convinced that 15ml per person is enough liquor for any kind of party, myself. Still, it’s a fun concept). The labels on each vial display the whisky name and a short description (“Rye Whisky”, “Straight Rye”, etc.), ABV, and date of bottling (the vial, not the original source bottle). There is also some well-written prose about rye whisky in general, and about each of the samples in particular, including some mashbill, age, and barrel details.
Keep an eye out here, on Flaviar’s Facebook page, and in their email newsletter for good deals. A few months ago they had 30% off full bottles and 40% off single tasting packs (not subscriptions)! Overall, I think Flaviar provides a good service and has reasonable prices. In my opinion it’s always better to spend $10 on a single glass of a whisky than $70 on a single bottle, on the chance that you won’t like it. If I had my way, I’d be able to buy a $10 taste of every bottle before I bought it. Between my local bars, Master of Malt, and Flaviar, I can almost do just that.
About US Shipping: At the moment [Flaviar ships] to all European Union (EU) countries and the United States, with the exception of the following states due to state laws: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas or Utah. Unfortunately, we also cannot ship to PO Boxes, APO addresses.