Review: Whisky Loot

Some time ago, a business named “Whisky Loot” sent me an unsolicited e-mail requesting my postal address. Soon after sharing my place of abode with them, a “Whisky Loot” tasting pack arrived at my door.  The sample pack contained the following three 60ml bottles: 

  • Limeburners Port Cask 
  • Pure Scot 
  • Koval Four Grain

From a glance at their website https://whiskyloot.com, it is not immediately clear what the business actually does. Scroll down, and the purpose of the business is succinctly stated:

“We curate a selection of high-quality whisky from distilleries around the world, sending you three 60mL bottles once a month”

Okay, so Whisky Loot seems to be a whisky club which sends “subscribers” three 60ml samples of whisky each month. This is at a cost of AUD$59 per month (including delivery).   

Impressive packaging 

When I first opened Whisky Loot’s sample pack of whisky, I was immediately impressed with the high quality presentation of both the pack and the sample bottles. The pack itself is made of thick glossy white cardboard that snaps closed with the assistance of a magnetic pull. Very nice indeed. On opening the pack, I am presented with three immaculate looking 60 mL sample bottles of whisky. The sample bottles are nestled in a dense dark grey foamy material. Each sample bottle feels heavy and they are made of solid glass, but they keep reminding me of perfume bottles. 

Beneath the bottles sits a card which contains tasting notes for each of the three whiskies. The pack also comes with a whisky journal, in which you can write tasting notes. 

That is where my praise for Whisky Loot ends. 

Not the best value 

My immediate reaction to Whisky Loot is that, if I am going to pay $59 for three samples of whisky, why wouldn’t I just go to bar and try the whiskies?

It is important to remember that Whisky Loot samples are 60ml each. So, if you were to go to a bar, you would ordinarily need to order a double measure to get 60ml. How much, then, would double measures of each whisky in the Whisky Loot pack cost if I was to buy them at a bar? I looked up the menus of a few Melbourne bars to find out how much it would cost to buy double measures of each of these whiskies at bars. 

Whisky Whisky Loot Bar prices (double measure)
Limeburners Port Cask $13.5 x 2 = $27
Pure Scot $10 x 2 = $20
Koval Four Grain $11.5 x 2 = $23
Total $59 $70

Based on the prices quoted on the menus online, it seems that buying double measures of these whiskies at a bar will cost me $70 (and that includes each measure being a double shot, so they’ll be at about 60ml each). That is $11 more than the Whisky Loot pack… much less than I actually thought! As you can see, Whisky Loot have chosen to send whisky which is at the lower end of the price spectrum (more on that shortly). 

Of course, the benefit of Whisky Loot is that you get to taste the whisky in the comfort of your own home. Though, to be quite blunt, if you gave me the option to enjoy three 60ml samples of whisky at home for $59, or, three double measures of whisky at a nice bar for $70, I’d much rather just savour the whiskies at the bar and make a night of it.

Disappointing selections 

When I opened my Whisky Loot pack and saw the selection of whisky samples, my immediate feeling was one of disappointment. This disappointment is connected with the lack of value I perceive in Whisky Loot’s offerings. 

I was not disappointed with the quality of the whisky, because Bladnoch (Pure Scot), Koval and Limeburners have made some really tasty whisky. I was more disappointed with the fact that the whiskies in the Whisky Loot pack which I had received – Pure Scot and Koval Four Grain – are fairly easy to find low-cost whiskies. A bottle of Pure Scot sells for $69.99 while a bottle of Koval Four Grain sells for $89.99. That is fairly inexpensive in the whisky world. 

The Whisky Loot pack I received seems to be a sample box of mostly easy to find and cheap low-cost whisky. That is hardly anything to get excited about, particularly for a hefty $59 for 180mls of liquid.

Whisky Loot’s marketing makes no sense

Describing its October 2017 pack on its website (which contains GlenDronach Peated, Kilchoman Senaig and Paul John Peated Select Cask), Whisky Loot says: “Taste over $350 worth of delicious Smoky Whisky”. Whisky Loot, on the same webpage, also says: “You’d pay $355.00 in full to taste these at home.” 

This makes no sense. 

The idea behind these statements seems to be that, if you were to buy full bottles of each whisky in the sample pack from a retail store, you would spend about $350. But, the thing is, you don’t receive full bottles from Whisky Loot. Whisky Loot just sends 60ml samples of each whisky. A Whisky Loot pack therefore only represents a small fraction of the value of full bottles. 

To taste over $350 worth of these whiskies, you’d need to guzzle down three full bottles of the whisky, not three small 60ml samples of the whisky (the latter of which is what Whisky Loot actually sends). 

I wouldn’t join Whisky Loot because I think that there are better options

Whisky Loot might appeal to people who prefer to taste whisky at home, but I personally would not pay $59 for three 60ml sample bottles of whisky which someone else selects. I think there are better options available if you want to explore whisky. 

For one thing, I’d much rather go online and buy samples of whisky that I choose. The online Australian retailer smwhisky.com.au has a range of whisky tasting samples which you can buy and try – I have my eye on their 30ml sample of Knockando 21 year old which has a price tag of… wait for it… $11.45! There are also other places online where you can buy samples of whisky. If you want to explore different whisky but don’t want to buy full bottles of each whisky, I think buying sample bottles of whisky online is a real no brainer! 

The other reason is that, as I’ve already pointed out, if I was given the option to spend $59 on three 60ml samples of whisky to drink at home, or, $70 at a bar for three double measures of the same whisky, I’d choose to splash a little extra cash and enjoy the whisky at the bar (and with the whisky, the bar’s ambience, etc). 

Would I join Whisky Loot? Nope, I wouldn’t.   

 

 

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2 Responses to Review: Whisky Loot

  1. Graham Wright says:

    The other thing to keep in mind, that these are re-bottlings, not official. So what guarantees do we have that what we order is what we get?

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