About a year ago, I wrote about Flaviar’s new membership model including its pros and cons. Then, as now, my Flaviar links give me affiliate cash so you really can’t trust my opinion. These posts aren’t sponsored, per se, but they did provide me with a free membership to review last year. Here’s the kicker: I actually paid to renew my membership when it came up for renewal this month. That should be a stronger endorsement than anything I type while under the influence of sweet, sweet affiliate marketing money.
So what’s my opinion of the service, one year in? Despite their slightly spammy marketing practices, they’ve matured a lot as a company. They fulfill orders via local US retailers, now, so shipments arrive quickly and they ship to a much longer list of states (see below). They’re good at reminding me via email when one of my included membership perks is ready (time to choose some free whisky? Yes please!) and they aren’t too pushy about their other optional offerings, which are plentiful. If needed, you can adjust your email frequency in Account Settings. Shipping for extra purchases is now always free for orders above $60 (and discounted below), not just once per quarter. Of course, your included quarterly tasting box and bottle ship free as well. Every time I go in to the website to pick a tasting box and a bottle, there are fresh options. I’ve always felt like I had choices of whisky (and, I guess, other spirits) that I’ve never tried. That’s saying something, considering how often I taste new whisky for the blog.
I was also happy to see that my renewal window came with an enticing promotional offer – essentially the same offer I’d get if I cancelled my membership and then ordered a new “first timer” promotion. Caveat: these kinds of offers change regularly enough that you can’t count on them.
Having a Flaviar membership turned out to be an unexpected perk during Covid-19 lockdowns: Who needs to go to a whisky bar when you get bottles and tasting sets mailed to your doorstep on the regular? Have friends in the same situation? Go ahead and take my lead and relentlessly shill Flaviar to them! If they subscribe, you get a $50 store credit.
I’d also like to point out, as ’tis the season, that a Flaviar tasting box, subscription, or advent calendar makes a good CHRISTMAS gift for a burgeoning spirits lover. Why give someone a bottle of whisky when you can gift them many tasting experiences for the same price (or less)? The Gift Subscriptions can be for 6 months (two quarterly shipments) or 1 year, so you’re not on the hook for a recurring subscription!
Overall after using the service for a year, I can say I’m happy with it. It’s still the best way in the USA to get a selection of tasting-sized (50ml) whisky samples. If you’re interested, make sure to read my overview of the service. There’s a lot more detail in there.
About US Shipping: Flaviar ships to the United States, with the exception of the following states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah. Unfortunately, we also cannot ship to Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, PO Boxes and APO/FPO/DPO (AE/AP/AA) addresses, as well as forwarding services and courier depots. But don’t hesitate to stay in touch, because we are expanding to new territories every month.
They do offer shipping to some other countries – contact their Sales department to inquire.
Just wanted to say that a few days ago I noticed that here in Italy (so I guess in other european country too) is also available a new annual subscription (190€/year) wich includes the quarterly tasting boxes only (so no full size bottle, but also no refer-a-friend credit bonus). I don’t know if this is the same in the US.
I’m new to whisky and I had the chance to try Flaviar for a quarter with 50% discount and was quite satisfied and even bought some scotch and gin bottles, but in the end I choose not to renew the subscription because I felt to be already well stocked for a while and I don’t want to be the kind of guy that hoards dozens of closed or barely tasted bottles. Also, I have a well stocked liquor store not far and I prefer to shop in person (when is possible, of course) and local.
To be fair, Flaviar even offered me a free tasting box in case I changed my mind. How nice!
Thanks for the comment! I find that the value in Flaviar (for me) is the tasting samples, as they let me taste stuff that I’d otherwise have to buy at full price to taste. I actually only get full bottles from Flaviar when they are “included” in the quarterly choice. It sounds like the subscription structure is different in Italy than in the US. In the US, you choose 1 tasting box and 1 full bottle every quarter, and then any other purchases are optional. Cheers!
Renewed my membership a week ago, then saw the free shipping on orders at $60. It was previously free at least once a quarter for any bottle order ( ordered a $22 bottle a few months ago, no shipping charge), and it still says shipping is free for members (“Flaviar Members get free shipping on their orders.”), without specifying any limitations at all, on the page for any specific bottle I’ve searched. There is also a new minimum order of $35.
Flaviar tells me it was announced 2 months ago, but I can’t find any announcement. Strike 1.
Some of their prices are better than TW&More, most not so, at least for what I’ve looked at. They did reduce the price on one of my favorite gins by about 28%, but it’s still a bit higher than TW. Another premium gin is almost 10% lower. They have several offerings that aren’t available at TW–I’ve ordered 4 bottles with a 5th on the way, two of which are exclusive to Flaviar, and two I wouldn’t have otherwise gone for. Lots of good information on the site is found in one place, rather that searches of many different sites.
Overall satisfaction–7.5/10, down a point after the shipping changes
Good point, thanks Jay. I basically only use it for the ‘included’ bottle+tasting kits, which ship free, so I didn’t encounter that issue, but it’s a good one for readers to be aware of. Cheers!
Stay away. complete rip off. My wife bought me a $120 gift subscription. I got 6 tiny bottles and that is it!! Each is about 1.5 oz. To make matters worse, it said the cost was $54 and change yet their “customer service” says that is all I get. Bye bye to the rest of my wife’s money. Do not do business with this group. They changed their plans, which apparently use to be good, but now just a rip off of epic proportions.
I haven’t reviewed Flaviar’s new pricing model (the above post is from 2020). Giving it a cursory look, it appears the cheapest gift membership ($120) provides 2 “products” where a “product” is either a full-sized bottle (typical retail around $50 ish) or a 3-vial sample kit. That puts each bottle at $60 and each sample vial at $20, neither of which are worth the price. Compare that to the next subscription, which is $315 and provides 8 “products”, bringing the full-sized bottle cost down to $39 and each vial down to $13 and change. Still not great, but a little more reasonable if you compare $13 of tasting a new spirit at home vs. around the same amount at a well-stocked bar. Good for those who want to taste a bunch of spirits without buying full bottles, not great otherwise.
In the past, it’s always been the case that Flaviar’s “full” prices are poor while their coupon-based or sale prices enter the range of “reasonable”, as long as they have in-stock spirits that you want to try (aka no duplicates).
It sounds to me like your wife used one of these deals ($54 instead of $120) and was charged the full price instead? Customer service should be able to help resolve that, but it doesn’t change the fact that the cheapest subscription only gives you 6 sample vials (or 2 full bottles).
I would, also, be upset to pay $120 for 6 samples. Clearly, that’s an awful deal.