Kyson loves making tasty food, drinking good drinks, and saving money, too!
Liquor Shipped to Your Door: Too Good to Be True?
The Flaviar spirits club is a popular new alcohol subscription club that ships bottles of whiskey, gin, tequila, and other spirits straight to your door. It offers other membership perks, as well, including access to exclusive drinks and private events. But is it worth the money? Is it legit? Could it even be a scam?
Lucky for you, I tried it out so you don't have to!
In short, the Flaviar spirits club is not a scam, and it's definitely legit! Is it worth the money? That question is a little harder to answer, and depends on what you plan to get out of the club.
Here's my unbiased review that tells you how the club works and can help you decide if it's right for you!
How It Works
I was gifted a six-month subscription to Flaviar as a Christmas present in 2019 (what's better than the gift of alcohol?).
Here's what I learned about how the service works:
Flaviar is based on quarterly subscription. You sign up for either one quarter at a time or the whole year. However, you are billed monthly.
But how much does it actually cost?
- $95/quarter (3 months), divided into 3 payments of $31.67 per month. You can renew every quarter.
- $300/year, divided into 12 payments of $25 per month.
In the long run, the annual subscription is a better deal. It comes out to $75/quarter compared to $95/quarter in the pay-per-quarter plan.
What You Get
- Every quarter, you receive a credit for a "tasting box." The tasting boxes include 3 spirits for you to try. Your quarterly box is always shipped for free.
- Every quarter, you receive a credit for a bottle that is worth $40-$60. It is also shipped for free.
- Every month, you get free shipping on any other bottles or tasting boxes you want to order. They have a wide selection of bottles, and the prices vary per your location, but in general are competitive when compared to local store prices.
- Access to local special events at distilleries or liquor stores.
How Do the Tasting Boxes Work?
As far as the "tasting box" aspect of the membership is concerned, the Flaviar club offers a fairly wide selection of themed tasting boxes that give you a chance to try three different spirits. I tried one that features three Japanese whiskeys, and am about to receive an introduction to Scotch (which I've never been a huge fan of, but want to give it another chance. I know, I know, it's blasphemy to whiskey lovers). They have boxes that focus on certain regions, or unique flavor profiles. For example, there are boxes that include whiskeys aged in beer, or of American craft rum.
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- The presentation of the boxes is really fun—the spirits are placed in 1.5-ounce vials inside a round, upright box that twists open. On top are some cool coasters and circular cards that tell you a little bit about each drink and some tasting notes to which you can compare what you taste. These make for a really fun tasting experience!
- In and of themselves, the boxes are fairly expensive. If you ordered a box at full price (not one of your quarterly free boxes) it would cost $40. You could probably try them all yourself at a local bar for less. But the convenience, the fun presentation, and the unique selection available in some of these boxes might make it worthwhile.
- Shipping time is inconsistent. One of my tasting boxes came in a little more than a week, another took over a month.
What About the Bottles?
When I signed up for Flaviar, the quarterly bottle perk was a $45 credit that you could use toward any bottle you want. It looks like the club is changing their membership structure so that you choose a bottle in the $40-$60 range. When I renew my membership in a couple of months I will probably be grandfathered into this membership plan. But based on my experience, here's how the bottle-buying experience goes:
- Pretty good selection of bottles! There are only one or two, fairly obscure things I've not been able to find. They have lots of bottles I can't find at my liquor store, or have never heard of before, so it makes for a fun and rewarding (if, at times, overwhelming) shopping experience.
- Lots of tools to help you find new things. As you try more drinks (either in boxes or bottles), or let them know what things you have tried elsewhere and like, you get really helpful tasting suggestions. I like rye whiskey and tried a new one I had never heard of (Minor Case Straight Rye—aged in sherry casks, creamy, spicy, and delicious), which was recommended based on my profile, and it is now one of my favorites. They also have a creative "flavor spiral" for every bottle, that lets you know its dominant flavors. This makes it really easy to find things I might like but haven't tried before.
- Competitive prices. The prices of bottles vary based upon your shipping location, but I have found that most bottles are about the same or slightly less than the price at my local liquor store. Considering the fact that the membership charges you $95 (or $75) for a $45 tasting box and a $40-$60 bottle, you probably come out saving at least a few dollars, not to mention the other perks of membership. I have used the monthly free shipping to buy a few extra bottles besides my included bottles, which usually saves me a few bucks compared to buying at a store (and the time hunting for bottles that I might not be able to find at my local store).
- Some bottles are slightly more expensive than my local liquor store, but the convenience of shipping (as long as I don't mind the wait) might still make it worthwhile.
- I wish they offered 1.75ml bottles. For drinks that I like to keep on hand in large abundance (Bulleit Rye is my go-to, for example), I still like to go to the store and buy a large handle because they are such a good deal.
Overall, however purchasing bottles is my favorite part of the Flaviar club membership!
Flaviar offers a few other perks, but I must confess that I have not been able to take advantage of many of them.
- The Vault: Once a month they release a few rare bottles that you can purchase. I have not yet taken advantage of any of these offers.
- Special events: As far as I know, no special events have been offered in my area since I have had my membership, or I may just be confused on how to find them.
- Refer-a-friend: If you refer a friend who signs up for a membership they (and you) both receive an extra $50 credit that can be used toward a bottle or tasting box. That is a pretty sweet referral perk!
Whether you are new to liquor and want to learn the basics and get some help finding new things to try, or a seasoned pro who wants a convenient and cost-effective way to find and purchase some good drinks, the Flaviar club can be a great experience. While there are a few things about their membership structure and offerings that I wish would change, all in all, I have had a great experience and plan to renew my membership for another year when my current quarter ends. Flaviar is definitely a legit membership experience.
© 2020 Kyson Parks