Whisky can be an intimidating drink for some. Many are intrigued but mystified by the spirit. For others whisky is a hobby and a passion. Whether you’re a lifelong enthusiast or a curious newbie, whisky subscriptions are a great way to go.
Subscription boxes are everywhere these days, and that makes sense: as our lives have become busier and more complicated, it is helpful for others to organise our meals, chocolates, beers or even cheeses for us. Whisky is no exception. There are dozens of services out there to keep you in stock of drams of the finest, with options for those looking to learn and explore, as well those who know exactly what they like. We’ve rounded up the best whisky subscriptions on the market so that you can find a service to match your budget and palate.
Best whisky subscriptions at a glance
- Best for learning about whisky: Flaviar, from £75 a quarter
- Best for ultra-premium whiskies: The Dram Team, from £29.95 a month
- Best for personalised selections: Drams to Door, from £34.99 a month
- Best for full bottles of whisky: Summerton Whisky Club, £50 bi-monthly
- Best for combining old and new: Pour & Sip, £29.95 a month
- Best for letterbox delivery: Whisky Me, from £7 a month
- Best for unique craft whiskies: Craft Whisky Club, from £29.95 a month
- Best for exploring whisky on a budget: The Whisky Nest, £14 a month
- Best for gifting: The Whisky Tasting Company, from £89 for 3 deliveries
Best whisky subscriptions to buy 2021
Best for: Learning and loving, swot up on the finest spirits as you drink them.
If you’re endorsed by Tony Hawk then you’ve got to be pretty cool and, to be fair to Flaviar, it is. The proposition here is an enticing one: a quarterly delivery of a full bottle of booze plus a selection of smaller drams. You pick which full bottle you want and also select from a range of carefully curated miniatures, with these sample-sized bottles taking you on journeys through peaty whisky to ultra-smooth Irish offerings. Flaviar isn’t just about whisky either – you can grab a full bottle of rum and a selection box of whisky or vice versa, with numerous different spirits on offer.
Flaviar pitches itself as a club rather than a subscription service, with a host of activities available from your dashboard. Members can level up their booze knowledge at the School of Spirits, drink along with on-demand online tastings and attend exclusive distillery tours. Tastings and tours are currently online but aim to be available in person again in the future. If you’re looking for boozy edu-tainment then Flaviar is the place to go. Flaviar’s offerings are available for £250 per year or £75 a quarter.
- Available from Flaviar (from £75 a quarter)
The Dram Team
Best for: Sampling ultra-premium whiskies without breaking the bank.
An excellent choice for the curious, the beginners and the experienced enthusiasts. The Dram Team offers a selection box containing five 25ml drams of whisky which cost on average £50 per full bottle, with some stretching to £70 per 70cl. The box is completed by the all-important Sixth Dram, a 10ml bottle of whisky which costs at least £125 per 70cl.
Chris, The Dram Team’s founder, fell in love with whisky at a tasting event. Several years later he decided to take that whisky-tasting experience and put it in a box for people to enjoy. Boxes start at £29.95 per month with gift subscriptions also on offer.
- Available from The Dram Team (from £29.95 a month)
Drams to Door
Best for: Intimate selections from experts in the field.
If you’ve never been to Milroys of Soho then you are missing out. The legendary whisky bar is a favourite with discerning drinkers across the capital and a pilgrimage for whisky tourists, and is believed to be the oldest whisky specialist in London.
Further to serving the Soho area, Milroys operates the Drams to Door subscription service which couldn’t be easier to sign up for and the customer service couldn’t be more helpful. You head to the site and answer a few flavour-based questions in order to establish which box is right for you. A beautifully presented circular box is sent to your door containing five 30ml whisky drams matching your palate, whether your taste is peaty, winey or anything in between. The box also contains detailed tasting notes, and customers are emailed a link to an engaging video where owner Simo talks discerning drinkers through what’s in their box. Subscriptions run for three, six or 12 months at £34.99 a month, one-off boxes are £40 a pop.
- Available from Drams to Door (from £34.99 a month)
Summerton Whisky Club
Best for: Full bottles of aged whisky at great value.
Subscribers receive a bottle of aged whisky every other month, with each bottle hand selected by founder Dan Humphrey. The mission for Summerton is to get great whiskies out into the world. On average a bottle will be cheaper to receive through the Summerton club than to buy in a supermarket, with some past offerings being worth double the subscription price, while other whiskies are exclusive to the club. Furthermore there is an eager community connecting over chatrooms and linking up each year for the online Summerton Club Whisky Festival, as well as discounts on full bottles. A bargain at £50 every two months.
- Available from Summerton Whisky Club (£50 bi-monthly)
Pour & Sip
Best for: Celebrating the old and exploring the new.
Powered by Master of Malt, you know you’re in for a treat with Pour & Sip. This subscription service offers punters five 30ml drams of whisky each month with selections ranging from the rare and wonderful to long celebrated classics. Bespoke tasting notes are included to guide you through each drop.
The service’s welcome pack includes two Glencairn glasses and there are twice monthly live tasting sessions which are broadcast across Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. If you miss the session you can catch up at your leisure or check out past episodes which cover your favourite drams. An interactive community chats away in the comments section of the tastings, and members also have access to discounts on full bottles as well as the ability to earn loyalty points. Pour & Sip is terrific value at £29.95 a month.
- Available from Pour & Sip (£29.95 a month)
Best for: Never missing a delivery of precious whisky.
Whisky Me is a market disrupting proposition. Why deliver whisky in a pouch instead of a bottle? The answer is quite simple: money and efficiency. With Whisky Me you never miss your delivery, it’s just posted through your door. In addition, the pouch is lighter than a traditional glass bottle and requires less packaging, so it is cheaper to post, hence why Whisky Me is able to offer its customers such a competitive price. What’s more, if you send 12 pouches back, you get a free refill.
Customers can choose from a traditional single malt scotch subscription or a discovery option which includes whiskies from the USA, Japan and elsewhere in between. Alternatively, you can get both. Subscriptions start at just £7 per month, making Whisky Me the best value option on the market.
- Available from Whisky Me (from £7 a month)
Craft Whisky Club
Best for: The craftiest and most exciting whiskies on the market, with a treat on the side.
Craft Whisky Club, as hinted in the name, delivers its subscribers full bottles of craft whisky. But we’re not just talking craft whisky here, we’re talking about the hard to find, the artisan, the bottle you can brag to your friends about drinking.
Our delivery featured the Isle of Raasay Single Malt – the distillery’s first core release. This bottle was in such demand that 19,000 people entered a ballot desperate to get their hands on it. The Craft Whisky Club boasts the largest allotment of bottles in the UK but despite its haul of liquid gold, new subscribers to the club will be dealt a dram on a first come, first serve basis. The whisky was a lightly peated dream, gentle smoke on the nose wafts in dried dark fruits sprinkled with baking spices, lathered in creamy vanilla. The bottle came paired with a bar of raspberry dark chocolate from The Chocolate Tree, the bittersweet treat cutting through the darker berries and levelling out the sweeter spices.
For £29.95 a month you’ll be sent a box every eight weeks, a small price to pay for the craftiest finds – £55.95 per month gets you an extra bottle in the box.
- Available from Craft Whisky Club (from £29.95 a month)
The Whisky Nest
Best for: Exploring the world of whisky on a budget.
For just £14 a month subscribers are sent a 100ml bottle from the month’s featured distillery. Past months have featured Cumbria’s distilling pride and joy, The Lakes Distillery, and Sweden’s ultra-cool Mackmyra, while the current offering comes from California’s ever-growing Sonoma Distilling Co.
Our box from The Whisky Nest included a bottle of Mackmyra Mando Diao, I solnedgången, along with a useful leaflet which detailed the provenance of the whisky and included helpful tasting notes. A real connoisseur’s choice, the I solnedgången speaks to the expertise of The Whisky Nest. This Scandinavian delight is part of the distillery’s Private Cask selection, a collaboration with Swedish alt-rockers Mando Diao. Smoky with creamy vanilla and butterscotch notes, the dram was sumptuous enough to have us scouring the internet for a full bottle. Make sure you don’t miss out on its Sonoma Distilling Co. offering: we’ve been raving about their bourbon.
- Available from The Whisky Nest (£14 a month)
The Whisky Tasting Company
Best for: Gifting something special with the help of an expert team.
The people behind The Whisky Tasting Company are from good whisky stock. Co-owner Colin Sinclair is the nephew of one of the Glenmorangie’s famed Sixteen Men of Tain. The Whisky Tasting Company was actually the first whisky subscription to launch in the UK, hitting the market in 2010. It was also the first to create a whisky tasting set by combining offerings from various distilleries as opposed to a single firm. The company even owns its own bottling facility near Lockerbie, with every step of the process done in-house: sourcing, bottling, labelling, packing and dispatching.
Where The Whisky Tasting Company really excels is in gifting – you can purchase the ideal subscription for your loved one or order a one-off box to suit their taste or the occasion. The first box is personalised, giving you the option to write a special message for your lucky recipient. Thereafter they can kick back and raise a toast to you of an evening as the whiskies keep rolling in. Boxes are delivered every three months and contain five 30ml drams of rare and fine whisky, with prices starting at £89 for three deliveries.
- Available from The Whisky Tasting Company (from £89 for 3 deliveries)