I firmly believe there is little better than a cold Gin & Tonic on a warm summers day. That’s why I got so excited when I discovered that the creators of Whisky Loot were launching a discovery service for gin as well!
Really, any excuse to sit out in the garden with a cold G&T in my hand.
Most people will have tried the standard gins you’ll find just about everywhere – Gordon’s, Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray. However, there’s also a growing craft gin movement happening all around the world and especially here in Australia. In fact, gin was the fastest-growing alcohol sector in 2020, with over 5 million Australians regularly enjoying the spirit.
If you’re reading this review, I can tell already that you’re interested in exploring new gins so let’s see if Gin Loot is a good way to explore the booming gin market.
In this Gin Loot review, I’ll explore the origins of the box, what it’s like receiving a box, whether it’s actually value for money, and whether it’s the best gin subscription in Australia (spoiler: I think so!).
Gin Loot Subscription Review
Gin Loot Review - Summary
A premium experience with 3 exciting gins to taste each month, making this a perfect gift or treat for someone who enjoys their gin. Slightly on the pricey side.
Ordering - Website - 8/10
Products - Quality & Experience - 10/10
Ordering - Delivery - 8/10
Value For Money - 6/10
- High quality packaging and presentation with beautiful glass bottles.
- Includes extensive tasting notes and ‘Gin Tracker’ to record your own thoughts.
- Makes an excellent gift.
- Diverse and interesting gin selections.
- Charges premium prices for a premium service.
- Limited appeal for experts in gin who already know what varieties they love.
Who are Gin Loot?
An Aussie entrepreneur, Joel Hauer, founded a company called Whisky Loot in 2016 after spotting an opportunity to bring whisky exploration to the Australian market. Since then, Whisky Loot (you can also check out our Whisky Loot review) has grown rapidly and even changed the company name to Liquor Loot so they could serve other spirits and alcohols.
Gin Loot launched in December 2020, with the Sydney-based team curating a journey through 36 different craft gins each year.
In 2022, they merged the two brands into a single Liquor Loot brand, which is where you’ll find the Whisky loot subscription these days.
What do Gin Loot offer?
When you order a Gin Loot subscription, you receive a monthly delivery of 3 x 60ml bottles of gin to explore, with the option to add a tonic pairing.
Unlike most subscription boxes, every subscription starts at the same box (‘Tastes of Australia’) and moving through 12 different themed boxes. For example, month 8 will get you exploring the ‘History of Gin’ with 3 gins made using long-standing methods.
After the first 12 months, you’ll be able to continue the adventure with monthly discovery boxes of some more ‘hard to find’ gins.
Gin Loot also offer single-month tasting packs, so you can get your gin fix as a one-off purchase..
A (very) short gin discovery interlude
If you aren’t a regular gin drinker, you might not know too much about what gin actually is.
The thing that all gins have in common is that they contain the juniper berry, often in different ratios / strengths. Interestingly, the juniper berry isn’t really a berry, instead it’s more like a pine cone. You’ll also find that most gins also contain some other botanicals such as cinnamon, coriander, citrus peels or licorice.
Gins are made by fermenting a grain such as barley and then distilling it alongside the botanicals previously mentioned. This process leaves a spirit with around 40 – 45% alcohol content, perfect for mixing with a nice glass of tonic water.
The best description I’ve seen for what gin made from pure juniper berries tastes like is “Christmas tree water“. Probably why it’s a very acquired taste on it’s own.
How much does a Gin Loot subscription cost?
It’s important to consider that receiving 180ml of alcohol delivered to your door each month isn’t likely to come cheap, which makes Gin Loot’s cost less of a surprise.
A monthly rolling subscription costs $54/month, plus an extra $10 if you want to add a tonic pairing. If you want to commit to a 12 month gin tasting experience, it will set you back a fairly significant $649 with the tonic pairing. A yearly commitment gets you the equivalent of 12 months for the price of 10.
A little later on in this Gin loot review, I take a look at whether this price represents good value.
Do Gin Loot charge for delivery?
All gin subscriptions come with FREE delivery to anywhere in Australia.
If you want to buy a one-off tasting pack or full-sized bottle, then there is a $10 delivery fee. That fee is waived if you spend over $150 which is very easy to do!
My Gin Loot subscription
Now it’s time we crack into the good stuff, sharing my experience with the Gin Loot subscription box.
First impressions are absolutely incredible, with the sleek branding and sturdy shipping box giving a very premium feel to the delivery. In fact, I would go as far to say that it feels very special. I received a box without the additional tonic pairing.
This initial impression alone makes Gin Loot a really incredible gift for someone.
Opening up the box, you’re greeted with two booklets (more on those later) and the three 60ml gin bottles to explore. The bottles themselves are made of glass, which makes them feel very sturdy and adds to the premium feel of the Gin Loot discovery box. They’re stored in a firm foam poach, meaning they’re very unlikely to get damaged during transit.
In my box, I received the following 3 gins:
- Sydney Dry (Poor Toms Distillery)
- Malfy Con Limone (Torino Distillati)
- Modern Australian (Four Pillars Distillery)
Considering I live within a short car rides distance to Marrickville (where Poor Toms is based), I was particularly excited to give this one a try.
When you’re trying these gins at home, it’s definitely important to create your drinks in the optimal way to get a full experience. Gin loot provide serving suggestions which include suitable cocktails and garnishes to go in a gin & tonic.
I opted to go down the simple gin & tonic route, investing in a premium tonic for a few dollars extra (FeverTree).
What surprised me the most is how much difference the garnishes make. I had the Sydney Dry gin with an added strawberry for flavour, which gave an incredible fresh taste to match with the slightly bitter gin. Previously, I’d always used cucumber as the key garnish, so I’m definitely a convert to using strawberry.
Likewise, the Malfy Con Limone is recommended with a sprig of fresh thyme. This gin really hits with a citrusy (lemon) flavour which balances out perfectly with the herby notes from the thyme. Highly recommended.
Gin tasting notes
Each Gin Loot box also comes with a booklet that gives you more information about the gins you’re tasting. This explains the different botanicals you’ll find in the gin, as well as how it should smell and taste. These tasting notes act as a perfect guide to help you understand the flavours you’re tasting.
You even get access to a video explaining more about the gin, adding to the overall experience.
With your first Gin Loot order, you’ll also receive a ‘Gin Tracker‘ that gives you a physical space to note down what you thought of each gin. This includes your own flavour wheel which is a great framework for thinking about what gins you do or don’t like.
Is a Gin Loot subscription good value?
Paying $49 for 180ml (6 standard measures) of gin initially feels like quite an expensive way to drink.
This price point definitely aligns more closely with the price you’ll pay at an inner-city bar. Since you’re drinking at home however, I want to compare this price against purchasing those bottles directly from the distilleries (where possible).
This means that if you were to buy all 3 bottles of gin, the equivalent 3x60ml would cost you a total of $19. That’s less than 40% the cost of a Gin Loot subscription. However, it’s fair to say that this isn’t a very fair comparison for a few reasons.
- If you actually wanted to purchase these three whiskies, you’d be paying the full bottle price of $221. Yes, you definitely get a lot more gin but you need to invest a lot more money to try those three different types.
- With Gin Loot, you get the added experience of receiving a box, delivered to your door, with useful tasting notes and a curated set of gins to try.
It’s probably more reasonable to compare the price against what you’d expect to pay in a bar. It’s not unusual to pay $15-$20 for a standard Gin & Tonic in bars around Sydney. Your local area may differ significantly. If I take the lowest part of that range, it would be a total $90 for the equivalent amount of gin and tonic.
|Gin Loot (with tonic)
|$54 – $64
|$90 – $120
This all makes Gin Loot seem far more reasonably priced. Whilst I still wouldn’t consider it incredible value, there is evidence to show the pricing is pretty reasonable. Would it be worth paying an extra $30+ to drink in a bar instead? Well, that’s totally dependent on individual preference.
Other things you should consider
It feels like I’ve covered almost everything you could possible know about Gin Loot.
Even with all this information, it’s no guarantee that Gin Loot will be perfect for you. So, it’s good to know their cancellation policy. If you are on the Monthly subscription, you’re able to cancel anytime but must be at least 3 business days before payment is taken for your next box. That can be at different times for each person, so check your Gin Loot account for the exact date. Signing up for the 6-Monthly or Yearly subscription commits you to receiving 6-12 months of deliveries, which won’t automatically recur.
I also want to raise one of the best things Liquor Loot do for both their brands – the Gin Advent Calendar, one the best alcoholic advent calendars in Australia. Released every year, this is an advent calendar featuring 24 x 30ml bottles of gin. This is an incredible idea and something worth considering as a treat for yourself when we start to reach October/November this year.
Should you buy a Gin Loot subscription?
Like Whisky Loot, Gin Loot is an incredibly well-crafted premium tasting experience with a classy design and packaging. I loved the excitement you feel when the box arrives, along with the whole experience when you open it to explore the different gins you’ve received. I’ve learnt more about gin than I ever thought I would know!
With a gin tasting subscription, you’re almost guaranteed to find multiple gins you love, as well as identifying the characteristics you enjoy. Based on this, you can start to choose which gin you want at a bar with some authority.
Gin Loot would be perfect for the following:
- As a gift for any gin-lovers.
- Anyone who wants to explore new & interesting whiskies.
- People new to gin who want to develop their palate.
I wouldn’t recommend this as a gift/experience for anyone who’s already a knowledgeable gin drinker. They’ll prefer to order their own tasters/samples based on their existing preferences.
Although the price point is a little on the steep side, I would suggest that the overall experience represents good value, especially in comparison to drinking out at a bar.
Full Disclosure: Liquor Loot reached out to me and offered a trial of their service for free (who can say no to that!), and we may receive a small commission for any purchases made through our links. It is my promise to readers of FoodBoxMate that this does not influence the review content and everything written in this review is entirely my own opinion.