Are you passionate about whisky? Well, if so, maybe it’s time you joined a global community of fellow whisky enthusiasts! From the United States, Canada and the UK, there are plenty of amazing clubs out there that offer members exclusive access to premium drams from around the world.
Along with connecting like-minded people together, these groups can also help further your knowledge on all things related to whiskey.
In this article, we’ll review some of the best whisky clubs from around the world. We’ll also provide information on how to join these clubs and what benefits they offer their members.
To learn more about some top notch international clubs and how you too can become part of their flourishing networks – take a look at this informative guide.
What is a whisky club?
In exchange for monthly, quarterly or an annual subscription fee, whisky clubs offer their members a variety of benefits, including access to exclusive whiskies, discounts on whisky purchases, whisky tastings, free shipping and much more.
Alongside printed brochures or email newsletters, these clubs also provide their members with a community and a place to connect with other whisky enthusiasts from around the world.
There are swathes of different clubs available, so it is important to do your research before you subscribe. If you’re unsure where to start, here’s some common questions;
How do whiskey clubs work?
Whisky clubs usually mail you samples or tasting sets of new and exclusive drams, sometimes full size bottles and even exclusive discounts to selected bottles or distillery tours. Certain clubs may even offer membership events that you can attend either digitally or physically. The frequency of these perks depend on the club you join, which package you choose and the type of membership you subscribe to.
How much do whisky clubs cost?
Monthly subscription fees start as little as £34.95 / $42 USD which give you varying degrees of access to exclusive drams, tasting kits, events, merchandise and leading industry insider news.
Let’s delve a little deeper into what we’ll be looking at in this article and the options available.
Best in Categories
In this article, we’ve broken them down into the best options we’ve found with worldwide availability in each of the 4 categories below:
Best Overall: Flaviar
Best for gifting: Drams to Door
Best for Full bottles: Summerton Club
Best for events: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Best Overall: Flaviar
Flaviar is the best overall pick because the membership offers you ALL of the other categories in one simple membership.
- Variety of monthly/quarterly/annual subscriptions
- Subscriptions can include tasting kits or full bottles
- Full bottles and tasting kits can be bought separately at discounted members-only prices
- They host events and help you host events with your friends too!
- Provide a great wealth of knowledge to help “turn you into a seasoned know it all connoisseur”
Flaviar is our best pick overall because they offer the best variety of subscriptions, and spirits and have good availability in many countries. They have tasting sets as well as full bottles available at members-only prices, so you can get cheaper rates on tasting kits and bottles outside of your monthly subscribed amount too which is a great plus. Many subscription sites, we’ve found don’t allow you to purchase goods outside of the boxes provided.
Originally, Flaviar began as a secret – only allowing a limited number of members at any one time. What began as an exclusive members-only club has now expanded to have many partners across the globe and exploring other spirits categories as well. It has now grown into something of a buyers club for drinks enthusiasts being able to purchase exclusive and interesting brands at discounted prices.
How Flaviar works:
Each of the Membership plans comes with a selected time period and a corresponding number of Product deliveries (curated Tasting Box or bottle of your choice):
- The Monthly Membership: Choose 1 Tasting Box or bottle to be delivered to you each month. You’ll be charged every month. $60/£40
- The 3-Month Membership: Choose 2 Tasting Boxes or bottles to be delivered to you whenever you like. You’ll be charged every three months. $110/£75
- The 12-Month Membership: Choose 8 products which can be any combination of deliveries you please throughout the year: 1 Tasting Box and 1 bottle now, 2 Tasting Boxes in a month or two, 3 bottles at the end of the year… you get the idea. You’ll be charged every twelve months. $290/£200
You have to order the products yourself every month, or however often your plan allows. This isn’t a set-and-forget subscription; you are actively involved in the ordering of what you would like to have. You can also view how many items you have left on your plan within your account and see the delivery status of every order as well.
Another perk of Flaviar is that you can choose any number of tasting kits or bottles at discounted prices, which, if you’re already a member, could serve as excellent gifts for Christmas and birthdays for those who like to try something new. It’s not just whisky now either they offer all manner of spirits, rum, gin, tequila, mezcal, brandy, vodka and more! So if you fancy trying something different we highly recommend Flaviar.
Key Features of Flaviar:
- Several tiers of membership starting at $60 per month
- Free shipping on all orders over $60 for members ordering other items
- Great array of tasting kits and full bottles available at discounted prices for members
- The ever-expanding range of spirits of all varieties and is no longer just a club…
- Pause or cancel your subscription at any time
- Excellent customer service
- Work with partners all over the world so your spirits are shipped from a location near you.
- Access to tasting events
As this is an online ordering experience you will do regularly we thought it best to review the experience. Generally, it couldn’t be simpler… Literally, sign up with your email address after adding the membership of your choice to your basket and you are instantly taken to the checkout it’s as easy as that!
You can then navigate through the whisky very simply through the carousel on the homepage. Showcasing each brand’s unique style and take on the classic drink. Every whisky they stock as a full bottle is available as a wee dram to taste so you can be sure you’re happy before purchasing the full bottle.
Their bottle shop is well stocked with a vast array of whiskies, both large and small all with special members-only pricing for those in the know. Much like shopping on any other website the interface is pretty simple. They even include a few of our favourites such as the Redbreast 12, Glenlivet 12, Glenfiddich 12, Bowmore, Caol Ila.
As mentioned briefly earlier Flavier has 3 simple pricing tiers; monthly, quarterly and annually. These are all easy to see and clearly state their benefits and features:
- Monthly Membership: $60/£40
- Quarterly Membership: $110/£75
- Annual Membership: $290/£200
The additional perks of this membership does include free shipping and discounts on shopping in their extensive bottle shop.
- Brand. The branding of this site is strong. We love the illustrations they have created of the characters across the site. There is a strong quirky vibe to the brand which would make it an exciting gift to give someone for example. As some whisky tasting sets leave a lot to be desired in terms of brand experience.
- Ease of use, the site is very user-friendly and simple to use. No confusion about next steps to take to get the result you want.
- It’s great that they offer a variety of spirits now, this means members can take full advantage of the discounts on all manner of spirits.
- Pricing for US-based customers is a little high we feel. The difference between UK pricing and USA pricing clearly goes beyond a difference in the exchange rate.
Overall Flaviar is still our winner it offers something in every category. It would make the perfect gift for you or someone you love, great for gifting unique one-off exclusive whisky for the connoisseur in your life. But also offers you a great wealth of knowledge and events to attend which allow you to fully immerse yourself in the Flaviar brand. Consider us Flaviaristas.
Best Whisky Club to gift: Drams to Door
Next up, we have something a little more artisan than the behemoth that is Flaviar. Based in Soho London we have London’s oldest whisky specialist: Drams to door.
A bit more of a conventional subscription service, Drams to door are a bit more hands off. You simply complete a questionnaire informing them of the style of whisky you like and they’ll surprise you each month with 5 whiskies to try. Compared to Flaviar’s £40/$60 a month for 3 drams at their £34.95 price tag, Drams to Door is definitely better value for money!
- x5 30ml drams in every delivery
- Price is only £34.95/$42 for x5 drams
- More hands-off subscription – let the expert do the work
- Access to rare, craft and exclusive whisky
- Matched perfectly to your palate
- Tasting videos and guides provided by the Milroy experts
Who are Drams to Door?
Drams to Door is a spin-off from the famous Milroys whisky store in London. Milroys of Soho was founded by John ‘Jack’ Milroy in 1964. At the time, John was working at Kettners Wine Shop but decided to start his own wine shop just up the road at 3 Greek Street with funding from his brother Wallace. Their business quickly took off because they were able to sell wine and spirits much cheaper than their competitors due to newly lifted price controls.
Milroys quickly gained notoriety for selling more whisky than any other store in London, if not the entire world. John and Wallace delivered their product to some of the most prestigious names in London, including the prime minister. The brothers’ success led to an invitation tour and conduct business tastings in Japan. To this day, we receive calls from people who attended those early tastings. Thanks to John and Wallace’s efforts, Milroys became a go-to source for information on all things related to whisky. John went on bottle many whiskies under his own label, while Wallace penned the Malt Whisky Almanac–a revered guide among aficionados.
- Simple monthly payment subscription service
- Unique whisky sent to you every month
- Hands-off approach let the expert delivery whisky that’ll suit you
- Experts in artisanal whiskies
- Perfect affordable gift for the whisky lover in your life.
- Ship worldwide – although customs fees may be incurred
Drams to Door is super simple concept and has a super simple interface to go along with it. When you land on the page all you have to do is select the questionnaire, answer a couple of questions letting them know the style of whisky you’d like to be delivered every month and your done!
- Super simple concept
- Feels more unique, artisanal approach. Less mass market brands compared with the likes of Flaviar.
- Pricing is excellent, as the lowest price offering we have reviewed this is excellent value for money. Great gifting price range.
- No online bottle shop. Unlike others we have no way of purchasing a full bottle of the whisky we have tasted in the monthly club.
- Very limited selection of taster packs or “flights” as the call them available on-site to buy as a one-off purchase for a present for example. At the time of review, there were only 4 in stock.
Overall though as a traditional tasting whisky club subscription we think Drams to Door do an excellent job. If you were to gift or indeed enjoy this yourself we have no doubt it would be thoroughly enjoyed and an exciting treat to receive in the post every month. And with shipping worldwide, a rarity in this market Drams to Door are definitely a favourite to try!
Best for full bottles: Summerton Club
Next for review is the Summerton club, a whisky membership where you pay £50 per delivery (not per month). Deliveries happen six times a year: February, April, June, August, October and December. Within each delivery, you get sent a full bottle of a unique, rare, hard to find in the supermarket bottle of whisky.
As they have a large-scale buying power obviously economies of scale come into play here, ensuring that’ll you’ll always get value for money. Paying only £50 and being delivered sometimes as much as a £95 RRP bottle! That’s quite a saving, never mind the fact you would struggle to find these bottles yourself.
Who are Summerton Whisky club?
Born from a son’s desire to gift his father an interesting whisky-tasting experience. Below are a few of their core values for their mission:
- They don’t want to ruin any surprises, so you won’t hear from us before delivery.
- Deliver high-quality, unique bottles that you likely wouldn’t be able to find or acquire yourself. In doing so, we help them broaden your horizons and discover new favourites.
- They only send products to our members that we believe are worth more than the membership fee.
- They have a variety of activities for members only, such as virtual get-togethers and whisky festivals. You can also access their Facebook group where you can chat with other members about anything whisky related. This is the perfect place to ask questions, show off your latest delivery, or arrange meet-ups at local events.
- £50/$62 payment per delivery
- Unique whisky sent to you 6 times a year
- A hands-off approach let the expert deliver interesting whisky
- Experts in sourcing unique and rare whisky
- You get to enjoy the FULL bottle, not just a single measure.
- Ship worldwide – although customs fees may be incurred
The super simple sign-up process for the Summerton Club, one-page product page does all the heavy lifting. There are a few options to choose from: the first being the core product of the Bi-monthly subscription. Then there are a couple of gifting options for those looking to gift to the whisky lover in their life. There are even a couple of upsell options where you can access that month’s whisky as well.
- Get to enjoy the full bottle
- Save money on bottles which would usually cost ALOT more
- Access to exclusive bottles you can’t access elsewhere
- No option to increase the frequency of deliveries to once a month
- No way of tailoring to your whisky preferences i.e. peated, unpeated etc
- Customs fees may be incurred for orders outside the UK
The Summerton Club whisky subscription is a great option for those looking to get their hands on unique, rare bottles of whisky that they wouldn’t be able to find in the supermarket. For £50 per delivery, you get a full bottle of whisky that’s not available anywhere else. Plus, you get savings of up to £95 on the regular price!
Best for in-person event – an actual whisky club: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society offers its members the opportunity to enjoy exclusive, rare, and hard-to-find whisky. Members can attend in-person events where they can taste whisky from around the world, learn about whisky production, and meet other whisky lovers. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society also has an online shop where members can purchase whisky, whisky gifts, and whisky accessories.
Since 1983 they pride themselves on being experts in the field of whisky. They believe in the purest form of whisky and that flavor should be paramount. That’s why they give each bottling a unique name. They’re passionate about sharing the world’s best whiskies with like-minded individuals and strive to provide an exceptional experience for every single one of their members.
Who are SMWS?
Since formed in 1983 they pride themselves on being different than every other whisky company out there. They believe in the purest form of whisky and that flavour is more important than anything else. They also think outside the box when it comes to naming their bottles. Their goal is to share the best whiskies with the world and make sure everyone knows they belong in the club –the most vibrant one out there!
For an annual fee of £65/$80 you get access to all of the following for 12 months:
- World-class multi-award-winning monthly Outturns of around 20 new single cask, single malt bottlings in an ever-changing variety of flavours.
- Members’ Rooms at venues in the UK, where you can sign in up to three guests on each visit.
- Society drams and discounts in around 100 SMWS partner bars around the world.
- Virtual and in-person whisky tastings, events, festivals and other whisky experiences held at our Members’ Rooms, partner bars and other venues in the UK and around the world.
- Expert advice and personal guidance about all our whiskies from our Dram-cierge team.
- Exclusive access to Unfiltered magazine online every month, with the best in whisky writing and photography to inform, entertain and stimulate your taste for whisky adventures.
- Membership card and lapel pin badge.
With this membership, you don’t get whisky per se it’s more of an actual club where you are paying to be a member of a community. And have the opportunity to purchase from their unique collection of single-malt whiskies. All were selected from their expert tasting panel for their excellent quality and intriguing character. All of the bottles in their shop are specially selected for their flavour, and that’s why they never state where the whisky is from as they are more focused on the whisky itself, not the whisky brand.
Probably the easiest user experience out of all of the websites we’ve engaged with for this review. How to join is clearly posted all over the website and the product page is super simple with a clear call to action of “buy now” instead of the usual “add to cart”. Simple but effective. All the benefits of joining are clearly described and easily understood, great gifting options too. Allowing you to easily gift this membership as well. You can even add a discounted bottle to your order as well, making it a great gift idea!
- Great focus on the community aspect of a club.
- True to their values of focusing on what’s in the bottle, not the branding.
- Great worldwide reach, fantastic availability globally, for access to affiliated bars and pubs and club meetings
- A really interesting approach to the whisky sold in their shop. Driven by flavour profiles.
- Less like a conventional subscription , i.e. no monthly deliveries of interesting whisky.
- Maybe not quite as giftable as others discussed in this review, as you are signing someone else up to primarily attend events.
The Scotch Malt Whisky society focuses on community and flavour profiles rather than the whisky brand. They have a great worldwide reach and focus on providing an exceptional experience for their members. For an annual fee of £65, members have access to monthly Outturns, members’ rooms, exclusive access to Unfiltered magazine, and whisky tastings, events, festivals and other whisky experiences around the world. For the mere price of £5.42 per month we reckon for a die-hard whisky fan this would be a great investment for a year of whisky-related fun.
Flaviar, Drams to door, The Summerton Club and The Scotch Malt Whisky Society: malt whisky club offer different experiences for whisky lovers alike. Whether you want monthly deliveries of whisky or access to affiliated bars and pubs, each club provides a unique experience that’s perfect for the whisky lover in your life – or of course for yourself.
Considering the price and benefits of each club, we believe that Flaviar offers the best value for your money. With its focus on community and providing an exceptional overall experience, we highly recommend signing up for a membership with Flaviar!