Few commodities are as precious to 21st-century life as convenience and dependability, and whisky subscription services combine the two to benefit your bar. What’s better than returning home to find a new bottle of whisky that literally has your name on it?
For a monthly fee, these subscription services send curated whisky picks right to your doorstep. Each offers a unique spin that’s sure to appeal to a particular type of dram devotee. Whether you’re new to the world of whisky or looking to expand your base of knowledge and experience, these services can provide guideposts for the onward journey.
Whisky Subscription Services That Ship Straight To Your Door
Taster’s Club: For pursuing a particular passion
Price: $69 to $184/month
What you get: 1 full-size bottle every month, plus corresponding educational material
Not all delivery services let you pick your niche, but Taster’s Club allows members to select a Bourbon, Scotch, or Whisky package that will determine which bottles arrive every month. The Whisky package ($69) offers a variety of selections from around the world, while Bourbon ($69) is heavily focused on bottles from Kentucky, and Scotch ($79) samples from throughout Scotland. Each bottle comes with digital informational material about flavor profiles, distillery photos, production techniques, and more so that members can better understand what has arrived. “This is where we can really tell the story of a particular bottle and give enthusiasts a 360-degree experience with what they’re drinking,” says founder Mack McConnell.
Subscription options are available monthly, or in 3-, 6-, and 12-month blocks. Scotch drinkers with extra dosh can upgrade to the Scotch Pro package ($184), which offers more expensive, rarer bottles for serious connoisseurs. Taster’s Club also provides rum, tequila, vodka, and gin delivery services.
Caskers Whiskey Club: For a one-swoop bar stock
Price: $160/every 3 months
What you get: 3 full-size bottles every 3 months
While Caskers’ quarterly delivery averages out to a bottle a month, there is something to be said about receiving variety in bulk. Caskers offers American, Irish, Japanese, and Scotch whiskies, though it guarantees that at least one bottle in every shipment will be domestic. The three bottles come with tasting notes and cocktail recipes, encouraging drinkers to explore the wide world of whisky and its many styles and varieties. “When selecting the three whiskies for the club, we are looking for a good balance between newer and well-known, classic expressions, as well as between craft and established brands,” says Caskers vice president of marketing Ervin Strnisnik.
Starting in 2018, the company plans to launch an American Whiskey Club that will specialize in homegrown spirits. Club members also get early access to purchase rare bottles on Caskers’ website. Caskers offers clubs for vodka and select spirits as well.
Flaviar: For the curious drinker
Price: $60/every 3 months
What you get: Three 50 ml. samples each quarter, printed and digital informational materials, access to events and special bottlings, plus shipping credit for a full-size bottle
Encouraging exploration and discovery, Flaviar lets subscribers sample a variety of whiskies before splurging on a full bottle. Each quarter’s tasting package includes three 50 ml. samples that are intended to be sipped side-by-side. Users can opt to taste blind, if desired. “You need to be a little bit more engaged here,” says co-founder Grisa Soba. Once they’ve determined a preference, members get free shipping on full-bottle purchases.
In addition, Flaviar offers a home bar feature that tracks purchases and generates recommendations. Members also have access to purchase bottles from The Vault, a special selection of rare whiskies, including nine proprietary selections that Flaviar is bottling, such as Son of a Peat, a blended malt whisky. The company chooses whiskies based on its members’ preferences. “[These are] made exclusively for our members, inspired by our members,” Soba says. “[They’re] what we see they like the most.” Flaviar also offers a range of additional spirits, with membership currently on a waitlist basis.
Craft Whisky Club: For the craft specialist
Price: $49.50 or $89.50/month
What you get: 1 or 2 full-size bottles every 2 months, plus food that complements the selections
Craft Whisky Club aims to offer tomorrow’s classic whiskies today. As co-founder David Nicol explains, “We introduce members to the new leaders in the innovative world of small batch, handcrafted whisky, bourbon, and rye.” All members will receive the same series of whiskies, though the selection varies depending on where the member lives. UK members might receive R&B Distillers’ Borders single grain scotch, while U.S. members get Wolfburn Single Malt. Each whisky is accompanied by a food pairing such as chocolate bars or oatcakes. In addition, UK and U.S. members have access to purchase hard-to-find whisky, like Longrow Red Malbec Cask Matured 13 year old single malt scotch or Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 23 year old bourbon, through the site’s online store, The Secret Still.
“The whisky landscape is undergoing a marked change all over the world, with new distilleries opening every other week,” Nicol says. “We have the knowledge to keep the whisky lover abreast of this evolution, and make sure they get to experience the revolution first hand, in the comfort of their own home.”