Flaviar Subscription Box Review – January 2016
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 “Le Cognac” 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.)
Subscription Box: Flaviar
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.
Check out all of our Flaviar box reviews!
The box comes with tasting instructions and notes on each spirit included in the box.
Cognac is not one of my go-to spirits, so before I started sipping I did a little research to make sure I had a firm grasp on what exactly I’d be drinking. I learned that Cognac is made from grapes and aged in wooden barrels, that it’s named after a town in France, and that it’s also an appellation d’origine contrôlée (like Champagne , Armagnac, Chablis, and Beaujolais). This means that in order to legally bear the name Cognac, brandy must be produced in a specific region of France and adhere to strict production guidelines. Cognac is brandy, but brandy is not necessarily Cognac.
The first Cognac featured in this tasting pack is Merlet VS Cognac. VS means that it’s been aged for at least two years (whereas VSOP indicates aging of at least 4 years and XO indicates aging of at least 6 years). The flavor is “fresh, warm, lightly fruity, and [has hints of] dry baking spices.” Flaviar suggests trying this Cognac in Merlet’s signature cocktail, The Horse’s Neck. You can whip one up by mixing one part Merlet, two parts ginger ale, a dash of Angostura bitters, and orange zest.
Courvoisier has to be one of the most recognizable brand names in the world. I’m not sure I’ve ever tried it before, but I’ve definitely heard of it. According to Flaviar, “it has appeared in Woody Allen and James Bond films, been rapped about by Busta Rhymes and Ice Cube, has been praised by Stevie Nicks, and has appeared in hundreds of TV shows.” Impressive! The flavor is packed with flavors of “toasted almonds, stone fruits, and toffee.” I’m a big fan of this Cognac!
Queen Elizabeth declared Hine as the “Royal supplies of Cognac,” so it’s pretty cool to sip on this while thinking about how how someone might be drinking the same thing at Buckingham Palace! On the nose, this Cognac exhibits aromas of “ jasmine, oak, and strong hints of vanilla.” Flavor wise, it’s extremely full-bodied with notes of “fresh cream and toffee.”
Flaviar spotlights this award winning Cognac as the perfect pick for cocktails, and they recommend using it to make a Belclare. Flavors include “dried fruits, sultanas and prunes, butter, [and] oak,” and I love that the finish is described by Flaviar as “long, spicy, leather and lace.” Personally, I found the flavor a little… shall we say “powerful”? But at 106 proof, I guess that’s not a surprise!
I’m really pleased to see that Flaviar included a VS, several VSOP, and an XO Cognac in this tasting pack because it’s really interesting to compare them. The first thing I noticed when looking at them all side by side is that the color darkens significantly the longer the Cognac is aged, and it seems the flavor is also affected by the extra time in the barrel. This cognac is rich and deep with flavors of “wood, orange zest, vanilla, and dark chocolate.” It’s full-bodied and, in my humble opinion, incredibly delicious.
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 has been advertised on the Flaviar site for the last couple of months), but I believe the price will decrease to reflect the change.
Verdict: I really enjoyed learning about and sampling a variety of Cognac thanks to this Flaviar tasting pack. My interest is definitely piqued, and I think I’m going to keep an eye on bar menus to see if I can continue my Cognac education. In terms of value, Flaviar mentions that it would cost $435 to purchase full-sized bottles of the spirits 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?