I discovered Flaviar online while looking for places to try out some online ordering of spirits. Flaviar’s take on selling spirits is actually much more in line with the aims of Inebriati than your typical online liquor store. For them, it’s largely about exploration and education, with the requisite snarky attitude and humor.
Flaviar specializes in sending you flavor packs each month via their subscription services. You’ll receive several different spirits in small two to three dram vials of some premium alcohols based on your preferences. You can opt for Scotch, rum, bourbon, gin, irish, cocktails, a “best of” pack, or a mix with their “liquid gold.” You can buy the packs individually, or get a bit better price through their different subscription levels.
But the first thing I ordered was the Flaviar Welcome Pack, which I got at a discount through one of their regular promotions. The welcome pack has five different whiskeys from all over the world and of varying ages. It includes an Irish whisky, an Indian whiskey, a Japanese whiskey, a Scotch, and a Swiss whiskey. Quite a variety for one package!
So I selected that, checked that the discount was active, and placed the order.
It was at this point that an eyebrow got raised. There was an expected shipping time that extended up to 21 days. That was a bit different from other reviews. So I poked around a bit and discovered that Flaviar isn’t a US company, it’s a UK company (and the reviews I was reading were also from overseas). I readily admit that the shipping time was a disappointment. There’s nothing quite like wanting to start tasting and learning about these whiskies only to see that it will be essentially a month before they will arrive.
And on the 21st day after ordering, my Flaviar pack arrived. It looked like it had made it through customs successfully, bounced around a bit and then finally landed at my home in South Carolina.
Another eyebrow was raised when I took a look at the return address. Rather than coming from the UK, as I had expected, it was sent from Slovenia, a small European Union country just to the east of Italy and bordered by Croatia, Hungary and Austria.
But once I got past the origin point and other delivery elements, I removed the standard cardboard outer covering to reveal a package and unboxing experience that Steve Jobs would be proud of. (Full disclosure: I’m a designer by trade so I was particularly impressed by the care they put into every detail of the packaging and instruction sheets.)
The outer box, proudly labeled, was primarily a large branded cap, held to the base with two artful red tape stickers. Everything about the way it’s designed lets you know which way is up without the need for unsightly arrows.
Instead of just sticking some labeled vials in a box, these were set in a black custom stage, artfully arranged in an “Olympic rings” positioning and well protected without another layer of bubble wrap or other direct-to-landfill viscera.
Nestled between the bottles was a long, fold-out set of instructions. These, I doubt, would get past the strict Mr. Jobs. Written with a snarky wit and large dose of irreverence, the tasting instructions’ headers include “Spit or Swallow?” And a review sheet asks “Which of these 5 spirits made you go WAAAA-WEEEE?”
So after being duly impressed by the packaging and presentation, I took a look at the vials. Five very different whiskies from five very different lands. I also noted that the pack was designed for three people to try out.
That led to inviting two neighbors over for the actual tasting. So we grabbed our Inebriati tasting notebooks and got to . . . work.
The results in Part 2.