I can’t be the only person who’s intrigued by whisky, with the mental image of refined 18th century gentlemen sipping it over ice in the drawing room of their mansion. This perception is far from reality these days, with millennials actually leading a renaissance of whisky drinking.
If, like me, you’re an infrequent or non-whisky drinker, it can be really hard to know where to start exploring. You really need some sort of guidance to help understand the flavours, varieties and how best to drink them.
That’s where Whisky Loot comes in to help, allowing you to explore different whiskies before splashing out on the expensive larger bottles.
I’ve trialled the Whisky Loot experience, so you’ll know what to expect with your first foray into whisky exploration. Read on to see what I thought, in my Whisky Loot review.
Whisky Loot Subscription Review
Whisky Loot Review - Summary
A premium experience with 3 exciting whiskies to taste each month, making this a perfect gift or treat for someone just getting into whisky drinking. Slightly misses the mark on price.
Ordering - Website - 9/10
Products - Quality & Experience - 9/10
Ordering - Delivery - 9/10
Value For Money - 5/10
- Premium quality packaging and beautiful presentation.
- Includes detailed tasting notes and useful ‘Whisky Tracker’.
- Makes the perfect gift for whisky lovers.
- Serves up a diverse range of whiskies for every palate.
- The premium experience comes at a premium price.
- May not appeal to a whisky drinker with specific tastes.
Who are Whisky Loot?
Whisky Loot was founded by Joel Hauer in 2016, after exploring New York’s famous whisky scene and realising that you couldn’t discover whisky in the same way here in Australia. Joel has built the service on an ambition to make you as passionate about whisky as he is. Now run by a small team out of Sydney, Whisky loot has grown significantly and announced plans in 2020 to start a Gin Loot box as well.
You might also want to check out our Gin Loot review.
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 Whisky Loot offer?
Whisky Loot’s core offering is a monthly subscription box including 3 different 60ml bottles of whisky to try. In this case, it’s called the ‘Whisky Explorer’.
Whilst most discovery subscriptions have you join their ‘box of the month’, Whisky Loot is a little different. They take you on a whisky journey starting at box 1 (an “Intro to Scotland”) all the way through to box 12 (“Hard to find”) for a years worth of whisky exploration.
After those first 12 months, you continue to receive exclusive samples that include unique and hard to find whiskies.
Whisky Loot also offer a range of single-purchase whisky tasting packs, so you don’t need to sign up to an ongoing subscription. If you find a whisky that you particularly fall in love with, their shop contains full-sized bottles with exclusive member discounts.
If you would consider yourself a Whisky expert, they also offer a ‘Whisky Advanced’ subscription which hosts a unique range of single casks, rare and premium age statement whiskies.
How much does a Whisky Loot subscription cost?
A standard Whisky Loot Explorer subscription comes in at $64/month for a rolling monthly payment.
If you want to commit to 12 months of whisky exploration, that will set you back a total of $649, saving you an extra $10 per monthly delivery. In contrast, a one-off box will set you back $79.
A little later on in this Whisky Loot review, I take a look at whether this price represents good value.
If you want to expand your palate into the advanced Whisky box, this starts at $99/month for a subscription. A 12 month subscription comes in at an eye-watering $999, which is expensive but in return you’ll get a year’s access to some amazing premium whiskies.
Do Whisky Loot charge for delivery?
Delivery is always FREE with any Whisky loot subscription order.
If you want to invest in a specific bottle of whisky, or get a one-off tasting box, you’ll pay a $10 delivery fee unless your order is above $150. Which, considering this is Whisky, it probably will be.
My Whisky Loot subscription
I always think first impressions are important when purchasing a subscription product, and Whisky Loot have absolutely nailed those first impressions. Their website is well-designed and easy to use, with lots of useful information about whisky exploration. Following on from that, the box you receive feels very premium, with simple and refined branding.
You really feel like you’re entering an exclusive world of whisky (imagine this as a gift!).
Each Whisky Loot box contains 3 x 60ml bottles of whisky, stored in premium glass taster bottles. Each bottle has a label with interesting information printed on including where the whisky was distilled, how old it is and the alcohol percentage.
As a relative beginner to whisky, I opted for the Explorer subscription. In my first box, I received:
- Cragganmore Single Malt (12 years old)
- Macallan Sherry Oak Cask (12 years old)
- Dalwhinnie 15 (15 years old)
The packaging and finish across the whole box feels very special, like a genuine whisky experience. I’m very glad they opted to use glass bottles, as I think plastic would have just felt a little bit tacky.
Whisky Tasting Notes
Each Whisky loot box also comes with a printed leaflet that gives you all the information you’d ever need about the whiskies in your box.
You can use these notes to see how many features you can spot, looking at how the whisky feels on the nose, taste and finish. You even get a QR code link to a specially created video explaining more about whisky tasting and the whiskies you’ve got in the box.
With your first order, you’ll also receive a ‘Whisky Tracker’. This physical tracker allows you to write down and store all your opinions about the whiskies you try. It’s perfect for people like me becaue I always forget which drinks I like and can’t ever find them again.
Is a Whisky Loot subscription good value?
On first glance, paying nearly $65 for the equivalent of 6 shots of whisky seems like quite a premium price, similar to the price you’re likely to pay in a city bar for an average glass of whisky. However, let’s take a look at how much the equivalent amount of whisky would be if I bought the bottles themselves.
|Cragganmore Single Malt (12 years old)
|Macallan Sherry Oak Cask (12 years old)
|Dalwhinnie 15 (15 years old)
That makes the total cost at retail prices is $24.25, less than 50% of the cost of a Whisky Loot subscription. However, I recognise this is actually an incredibly unfair comparison for a few reasons:
- If I actually wanted 60ml of those three whiskies, I would need to pay an eye-watering amount of $283 to get the full bottles. Even then, there is definitely no guarantee you’ll enjoy the whisky.
- Exploring different whiskies from around the world can be very expensive, with bottles often costing $300+. This makes Whisky Loot a fantastic way to explore 36 different whiskies each year without spending many thousands of dollars.
- It’s important to consider all the reasons that make a subscription special including the delivery, packaging and excitement you get each month when the box is delivered.
Whilst I wouldn’t suggest that Whisky loot is exceptional value, I do think $64 is a reasonable price to pay for the premium whisky experience you receive. However, you might also consider that the same whiskies will set you back $80-$90 in a bar setting that’s a little more atmospheric than your house!
Other things you should consider
Whenever considering taking up a new subscription, it’s important 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 Whisky Loot account for the exact date.
Signing up for the Yearly or 6-Month subscription commits you to receiving 12 months of deliveries, which won’t automatically recur.
I also want to raise one of the best things Whisky Loot have ever created – the Whisky Advent Calendar, one of the best alcoholic advent calendars in Australia. Released every year, this is an advent calendar featuring 24 x 30ml bottles of whisky. It’s an incredible idea that’s very well executed and something worth taking into account when we start to reach October/November this year.
Should you buy a Whisky Loot subscription?
Whisky Loot is an incredibly well-crafted experience with a premium design and packaging. I absolutely loved the tasting notes, videos and tasting tracker that really helped me understand more about the whisky I was drinking.
Whether you enjoy the whiskies themselves will come down entirely to personal preference, although I have found that you need to keep trying whisky before you really enjoy it.
Whisky Loot would be perfect for the following:
- As a gift for any whisky-lovers.
- Anyone who wants to explore new & interesting whiskies.
- People new to whisky who want to develop their palate.
I wouldn’t recommend this as a gift/experience for anyone who’s already a knowledgeable whisky 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. In particular, the yearly subscription makes the perfect gift that keeps on giving.
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.