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Flaviar is an online spirits club for people who want to explore whiskey, vodka, tequila, and more — here's what my first tasting box was like

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flaviar review
I tested Flaviar's Tasting Box, which contains one full-size bottle and a few sample vials of a variety of spirits.

This content is intended for readers 21+. Please drink responsibly. If you or anyone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse, get help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) provides a free, confidential, 24/7, treatment referral, and information service.

Table of Contents

The world of fine and niche spirits can be overwhelming, especially if you're new to the scene. But if you're interested in trying small-batch whiskeys, vodkas, tequilas, and more, personalized spirits subscription service Flaviar is an excellent place to start.

In addition to providing quality options (including rare bottles) at great prices, Flaviar also serves as an online community for fellow fans to get together and talk about everything spirits-related. 

I tried out Flaviar for myself. Here's what to expect. 

What is Flaviar?

An annual membership billed once a year is $300, while a quarterly membership is $95 and billed every three months.

As a member, you can choose one tasting box and one full-size bottle, plus you'll receive access to distillery and bottle profiles, member reviews, free distillery tours, and exclusive events. There's also a Digital Home Bar, where you can revisit all the bottles you own and receive personalized recommendations based on your tastes and preferences. 

The Tasting Box (currently unavailable) contains 1.5-ounce sample vials of a variety of spirits and there's usually a different theme every three months, like "Mezcalistas" or "The Cognac Track." Meanwhile, the full-size bottles come from popular brands like Johnnie Walker and Glenlivet, as well as smaller distilleries like Journeyman. 

Flaviar carries more than 20,000 different spirits, and they're all vetted by industry professionals and a "resident flavor magician." 

Review of Flaviar

flaviar review 2
The Tasting Box was packaged well and everything arrived safely.

I picked out my Tasting Box and bottle, which arrived safely and securely. The Tasting Box and bottle ship out once every three months. 

I didn't want to get just one type of spirit, so I opted for the Flaviar Awards 2020 Tasting Box, a "best of" collection as voted on by the Flaviar community. It contained English whiskey, Scotch whisky, brandy, rum, and mezcal. For my bottle, I went for this Glenrothes 12-Year-Old scotch.

The site was laid out well, making it easy to browse all the different spirits and read through "specs," tasting notes, and reviews. 

I loved the design of the at-home tasting experience, too. 

flaviar review 3
The vials sit inside a sturdy container and even come with coasters that include tasting notes and "specs" of the spirits.

It was packaged nicely (Flaviar even included a coaster), and it encouraged me to actually sit down and take my time with each of the samples. The box included small cards with tasting notes (which the brand calls "Flavor Spirals"), and I had to try and match each one to an unlabeled sample.

I don't think I'm a spirits connoisseur just yet, but I thought the "Flavor Spirals" were spot-on and not too difficult to pair up with the corresponding samples. Still, it was fun to go into the process blindly and test my abilities to recognize flavors like the banana and honeycomb in the Larga Vida rum or the peach and blackberry in the Copper & Kings brandy. Since there was no packaging, I found myself focusing more on how each sample smelled and the sequence of different flavors that hit my tongue. 

Though I did this by myself, I could see the tasting process being an excellent social activity to do with a friend or family member. 

Ideally, the Tasting Box would help you further refine your tastes, as you explore and discover your likes and dislikes. Personally, I know I'm already a fan of rum and mezcal, but I'm hoping to become more knowledgeable about those spirits so I don't feel as lost the next time I'm shopping for myself or ordering at a bar.

Surprisingly, I didn't love the mezcal in the Tasting Box and actually found myself enjoying the other types of spirits more. With so many to choose from, it seemed like a shame not to take advantage of the variety. In the end, I think I'd need another round with the Tasting Box to further hone my preferences and then decide what full-size bottle to order. 

Other perks of membership

Once you've enjoyed your spirits, the experience isn't over. You can also spend time reading member reviews, articles about different spirits, cocktail recipes, and interviews with industry experts. Some of the member reviews are particularly intensive, which will help you make a decision when you're stuck. 

You can also buy individual bottles from the shop. Compared to other online stores, Flaviar's bottles are generally sold at retail price or a little cheaper. In some cases, like with this $400 Orphan Barrel Bourbon, Flaviar can be around $100 less expensive than competitors. Once a month, you'll receive free shipping credits, which can be used on one order of any size. 

Meanwhile, for people who love rare and exclusive varieties, there's The Vault, which is open once a month and allows access to a private collection of spirits. 

If you're serious about building your home bar, you may also want to consider the Flaviar Bar, which includes barware, storage, and five bottles. The full package will set you back almost $760, but it is an easy one-click solution. You can also purchase the bar without any of the bottles for $389.

Finally, membership usually includes free distillery tours and events, but due to the pandemic, these are likely on hold right now. In the meantime, Flaviar hosts online shows on its Instagram, where hosts interview bartenders, hold live tastings with a variety of guests, and put on virtual pub quizzes. 

The bottom line 

Flaviar is an accessible starting point and community for people who want to expand their knowledge of spirits, and it offers no shortage of member-exclusive features to dive into and explore.

Since it holds a large stock of spirits and resources all in one place, you won't need to juggle various forums, shops, and articles — instead, you'll find everything you need once you log in. For $300 a year, it's a bit pricey, but compared to the costs of doing all the work yourself and buying from more expensive competitors, Flaviar is definitely worth it. 

Start your Flaviar membership below:

Read the original article on Business Insider


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