Thursday, August 18, 2011

Coming through with the goods – The Whisky Exchange

Snapshot of The Whisky Exchange Website

NOTE: This is an old post from 2011. Take note of the date posts are made in reference to your current purchasing considerations.

Right now you cannot ignore just what is happening on the stock exchanges and global recession. Here in Australia we say "What recession…?". With The US dollar and UK Pound in slow down mode the Australian dollar is giving us a field day in overseas purchases online. Why wait for duty free to buy your whisky when you can just get it online even cheaper. If you are in the mood then get yourself to The Whisky Exchange and buy buy buy!

Some members in the past 12 months have taken opportunities at various points to buy whisky online so when I saw the Aussie dollar exchanging at £.64 to $1AU the time had come. I did a quick check at The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt and found the following results:

Cost of Whisky per bottle: Considerably Cheaper at The Whisky Exchange.

Ability to calculate shipping costs: Both site equally as good.

Cost of postage to Australia: Considerably cheaper with The Whisky Exchange.

Shopping cart process: Better with The Whisky Exchange.

Ability to find the whisky of choice: Faster and more direct at The Whisky Exchange.

Range of available Whisky: Many more harder to get items at The Whisky Exchange.

Presentation of website overall: Better at Master Of Malt but also cluttered where it does not need to be.

Overall you will see from my results that The Whisky Exchange came through with the goods faster and more efficiently in the ordering process, as well as cost leading me to make the choice to order with them. I was disappointed with Master Of Malt simply because I was actually wanting to order form them to have a point of different from other members experiences ordering online but also because Master Of Malt offered me opportunities to order some small samples in the package.

Ok so to follow on, the The Whisky Exchange quickly flowed me through the process of signing up as a member before continuing with the order. A few credit card details and I was away. I got some very quick follow up emails with my details and the purchase receipt as well as a tracking number and a link to to track the progress of the order.

How long did it take you may be asking? Despatch date was 11th August and it arrived at my door 7 days later.

Packaging by The Whisky Exchange
Packaging was good and arrived in an unmarked brown box and no Additional duty was charged at customs. As you can see from the pictures it arrived with no damage in site. On cutting through the strong tape I was created with a 4 part partition and green foam slugs filling every empty space. A nice little card was also found on top telling me who packed the box and who to call if there was any issues with the condition of the contents (a nice touch). Extracting the bottle of whisky to my delight I found each individual carton has been opened and repacked with more green foam slugs and each bottle encased in bubble warp. Attention to detail unsurpassed!

So what did we order? 4 bottles all up with x2 Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 001, x1 Laphroaig Quarter Cask, and x1 Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX.

Price comparison per bottle:

Laphroaig Cask Strength: £41.63 / $64.95 AU each
Laphroaig Quarter Cask: £23.29 / $36.19 AU each
Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX: £ 46.88 / $73.14 AU each
Shipping x4 bottles: £48.00 /  $74.88 AU ($18.72 AU per bottle)

For those in the know a quick calculation in your head with give you some astounding results in comparison to anything you pay in any of the shops locally. Even on the best day the Laphroaig Quarter Cask will still fetch $98AU at a Dan Murphy's if your lucky. That's a BIG saving!

Overall the experience was great with no hiccups. Price was good, items available was good, delivery was good, results were great! Just remember to always calculate your shipping costs into the deal before purchasing to ensure your making a genuine saving. If I was to give a dram than the experience was a solid 6 1/2 out of 7. Many thanks to The Whisky Exchange.

The Baron


  1. Here in Australia we say "What recession…?"

    Not sure anyone outside of mining agrees with that statement. That aside, might have to give these Whisky Exchange a burl. Although too much choice has never been my strong suit. I am keen to try an Oban 14yo again, but I can buy that anywhere...and there's a store in Brisbane selling Ben Riach 10yo which could also be on the cards.

  2. I recently made an order from Loch Fyne ( who have cheaper shipping options for small orders. Their website is a bit more cumbersome than the others, but still worth checking out!

  3. I placed my first Whisky Exchange order yesterday. At the checkout I noticed they had a box for promotional codes.

    Whenever I see promocode boxes these days I spend 30 seconds on Google seeing what I might be able to get. It turned out a 20cl bottle of Talisker 10yr old could be mine for free! It didn't increase the postage either. (The banter at whisky night about me being tight is definitely true.)

    Hopefully my drams will arrive as well packaged.


  4. You wrote that no additional duty was charged. Have you made recent purchases online again, and did the package avoid extra duty incursion? I've read in forums that their packages (possibly from other sellers) incurred $30-40AUD duty for each bottle. I've been itching to order online but this extra duty per bottle has scared me off.

  5. We have ordered heaps through Whisky Exchange and Master Of Malt. All orders have been kept to 4 bottles per order. The shipping is all more about bulk orders and then trying to resell your purchases. We are buying for private use and we are keeping the orders to a max of 4 bottles.

    Also so there is scaleability being applied to the order and 4 bottles tends to even out the shipping charges.

    Note if you go through Master Of Malt be sure to note in the special instructions area during the purchase phase to ask for the VAT to be returned. They are touchy buggers and tend to send rather rude messages back to you if you ask for the VAT return after the order has been processed.

    Whisky Exchange does not charge the VAT during the purchasing process.

    Both are good and if you can;t find something on one it is bound to be on the other.

  6. @Anon - if you read the Australian Customs website then you are liable to pay duty on all purchases, as you mention this can be $30-$40 a bottle.

    I don't know of any DTWC member that has had to pay duty (including on some quite recent orders), however, you are running the risk that you might be charged.

  7. I ordered four bottles of whisky from the Whisky Exchange and have just received a letter from customs with $144AUD worth of duty payable... Is there any way of avoiding the duty? It seems the Whisky Exchange declared the contents as alcohol, so obviously, it would be picked up at customs. Did anyone request them to alter the description of contents to avoid detection?

  8. Can't say anything had to be requested. Maybe Whisky Exchange has change how they are doing things. I have made 4 purchases through Whisky Exchange and 2 through Master Of Malt without any problems. Also you may just find that the random selection process of checking what is coming in has picked on your package specifically.

    It may also be against how much you actually ordered, and if it is over a certain dollar value it is looked at in more detail. We have always purchased just for private use and so the value has always been low at around $200 to $250 au including shipping. How much did you order?

  9. Hi thanks for the feedback. The order was roughly $250 including shipping. It says on the customs statement that the sender was 'Speciality Drinks LTD' and the declared contents 'alcohol' ... I will know more when I receive the package, but the sender details alone are an obvious red-flag. I don't mind if the parcel was just randomly selected, but it seems there was no chance with those details mentioned by the sender. In the end the order cost more than buying locally,which has put me off buying internationally, although I may try Master of Malt next time and hope they are more conspicuous in labelling the contents.

  10. That is interesting as none of my packaging has shown anything like that as I recall. Maybe they have changed how things are being done.

    When I queried Master Of Malt about packaging this was the response: "All boxes and packaging is very discreet with no heavy logos on trade marks". Whisky Exchange was similar from memory but I do not have the email anymore nor do I have the packaging to reference. Looking a Master Of Malt packaging it is declared as a 'Non Perishable Beverage' and comes from a company called 'Atom Supplies'.

    Generally for me these days I only order from overseas for items I cannot get here.

  11. I would be very careful about ordering from TWE. I received a 4 whiskies in November 2012 that were discretely labelled and sailed through Australian customs. A package of 4 arrived today, and it seems that TWE have changed their policy, as this package was labelled in a way designed to attract the heavy hand of Aust customs; labelled alcohol in several places with the Whisky Exchange prominantly labbelled. Upshot $174 (including a A$55 Fedex "handling fee"), all in I would have been $45 better off purchasing at Dan Murphys :(

    1. Agreed. Had no idea that I would be slugged an extra $127.00 in duty. Whiskey exchange could not tell me what the duty would be here in Austalia. As a result, I've paid $350.00 for 2 bottles of whiskey that used to cost approx. $200.00 here in Aus.

    2. Agreed. Had no idea that I would be slugged an extra $127.00 in duty. Whiskey exchange could not tell me what the duty would be here in Austalia. As a result, I've paid $350.00 for 2 bottles of whiskey that used to cost approx. $200.00 here in Aus.

  12. I bought a 220 GBP bottle from the Whisky Exchange and got slugged a $170 fee. Part DHL and part Australian customs. The bottle was a special one off but the extra fees has put me off buying alcohol overseas in future...unless of course the initial cost is 30% plus cheaper.