Flaviar Subscription Box Review – December 2015
Flaviar introduces subscribers to premium liquors from around the world. They curate and send sample packs that feature 5 x 45 ml vials of spirits, information about the featured bottles, and tasting notes. Sample packs contain enough alcohol to host a tasting party for 3 people.
This is a review of the “Ori-gins” Tasting Pack.
Flaviar sent me this box at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Flaviar
The Cost:$60 per quarter
The Products: Curated tasting packs that contain 5 x 45 ml vials of premium spirits from around the world.
Ships to: EU and US (All states EXCEPT: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah)
A Note about Shipping: Tasting packs ship from Slovenia. Shipping is free for the tasting packs, but they typically take 10-21 business days to reach US destinations.
The box comes with tasting instructions and notes on each spirit included in the box.
Most of the Flaviar tasting packs I’ve received have featured different types of whisky, so I’m fairly surprised to see gin featured in this pack. I love gin (especially when it’s mixed with tonic), but I’m not sure how I feel about drinking gin on it’s own. I don’t think of gin as a sipping spirit, but I wanted to be true to the Flaviar experience, so I decided to taste the gins in this pack on their own, without any added mixers. The first bottle I tried was Wenneker Elderflower Dry Gin. This is a dry gin, so there are notes of juniper berries, but “you get plenty of elderflower and other spices too.” I’m a big fan of elderflower (St Germain is my FAVORITE liquor), so this gin was right up my alley. The citrusy pear flavors of the elderflower and delicious, and I could see myself drinking this gin without a mixer. (Though, I’d probably prefer it ice cold and not room temperature.)
The next bottle featured in “Ori-gins” is Caorunn Small Batch Gin. It’s made by the Balmenach Distillery (known primarily for their Scotch) in the Scottish Highlands. They utilize local Scottish botanicals like rowan berry, heather, dandelion, and coul blush apple to flavor Caorunn. On their website, Flaviar has provided a recipe for a “Caorunn Apple Smash.” It’s a mix of Caorunn gin, muddled red and green apples, clove, and tonic water.
I absolutely love Flaviar’s description of this gin: “Opihr Oriental Spiced London Dry Gin is the salsa of Gin- a 40% ABV lemon-pepper bomb going off next to a pine tree during Sunday dinner in Mumbai… in a glass!” As you might expect after reading that, this gin is a little off the beaten path. With spices like cubeb berries, tellicherry peppercorns, cumin, coriander, juniper, and orange zest, it’s definitely a departure from traditional London dry gin. I really enjoyed the unusual flavor profile, and I think this gin would be fun to use in cocktails.
Gin Mare is distilled in Spain, just outside Barcelona in the small fishing village of Vilanova. In addition to the traditional botanicals used to flavor gin, it’s also flavored with basil, rosemary, thyme, orange, and olive. I’ve never seen olive used as a flavoring for gin before, and it makes me think that this would be a great gin to use in a martini!
The first thing I noticed about this gin is it’s amber color- it’s not crystal clear like most other gins. Flaviar describes it as a “scotch-o-bourbon gin.” “The base wort is malted barley, just like Scotch Whiskey. But the Gin-like botanicals are infused into pure corn distillate. Then the whole concoction is distilled in copper alembic stills and barrel-aged in ex-wine French oak casks for up to a year.” Old Tom-style gin was the first gin ever made in the United States, and, apparently, it’s the type of gin that was commonly used in classic cocktails. I’ve never tried Old Tom gin before, and I like it a lot. I may have to try swapping my standard dry gin for Old Tom in some of my favorite classic cocktails (like the Negroni and Martinez) to see how the flavor is affected!
All of the Flaviar Tasting Packs I’ve received up until this point have contained 5 different spirits, but Flaviar is changing up their subscription model. It looks like they are transitioning to tasting packs that contain only 3 spirits, instead of 5. I’m not sure when this change will go into effect (the new model was advertised on the Flaviar site last month, but this month’s tasting pack still contained 5 spirits), but I believe the price will decrease to reflect the change.
Verdict: I’ve really enjoyed the whisky-based tasting packs I’ve sampled from Flaviar, but I wasn’t sure how I’d like one centered around gin. Frankly, I don’t think it’s convinced me to start sipping gin straight up, but I like that I’ve discovered some new gins to use in cocktails. In terms of value, Flaviar mentions that it would cost $223 to purchase full-sized bottles of the gins in this tasting pack. Obviously, the quantities included in this tasting pack are much smaller, but I think it’s fun that they provide tasting instructions and encourage subscribers to host tasting parties. I really like Flaviar’s tasting packs, but it’s important to note that they ship from Slovenia and that shipping times are lengthy (they estimate that boxes can take up to 21 days to reach the US). The boxes have always arrived in good condition, but it can be difficult to predict when they’ll arrive.
Do you like trying spirits from around the world? Have you tried Flaviar?