Are You Interested in a Whiskey Advent Calendar? Beware of Common Scams


I know this may seem early. However, it is about that time of year again. It is a time of hope, fear of missing out (FOMO), and excitement which, unfortunately, is what makes your friendly overseas scumbag scammer seriously salivate.


Last year, I wrote an article about online scams at Bourbon & Banter. I nearly forgot about it until I recently started seeing advertisements for whiskey Advent calendars from Cask Cartel. I want to be crystal clear here: Cask Cartel is absolutely legitimate. The scammers, however, republish photos of Cask Cartel’s pictures in an attempt to fool you.


If you don’t know what a whiskey Advent calendar is, it can be pretty awesome, especially if you want to #DrinkCurious and explore things you wouldn’t usually get a chance to try. They have sample (typically 50ml) bottles of various whiskeys for each day of Advent. They often are theme-based; you can have Scotches, rare whiskeys, Bourbons, world whiskies, etc. They’re also not inexpensive – you can easily spend a few hundred dollars on these Advent calendars.


History has shown us that, year after year, whiskey Advent calendars sell out quickly. Hence, the opportunity for scammers counting on your FOMO. I want to give you some pointers on recognizing when you’re about to be scammed.


Aside from the barrage of ads showing the same photos and wording by dozens of “different” retailers, you’ll find a plethora of “customer” comments talking about how fantastic the company was to work with, how they shipped quickly, yadda, yadda, yadda. You’ll also start to see many people tagged in those comments. Ignore them. Ignore them all.


I recommend enlarging the photo as much as you can. Chances are you’ll be able to pick out the name on the Advent calendar. In my example below, you’ll see Drinks By The Dram. That’s a legitimate company as well. However, the name of the “company” selling it is not Drinks By The Dram, and it has no history of selling Drinks By The Dram products.


Reputable companies are not selling hoards of Advent calendars to sketchy resellers. They don’t have to because they sell out of their stock yearly. Also, in the unlikely event that one of these off-brand “companies” purchased a pallet or so of these calendars, they aren’t going to sell it to you at a massive loss.


Use an incognito browsing window and visit some retailers by clicking on their ads. The next part of what I’m telling you is something you should do with every shopping website you’re unfamiliar with. The first place you want to visit is the Contact Us section, and the second is the About Us section.


You’ll see phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses in the Contact Us section. Anything with,,,, etc., should immediately raise a red flag for you. For example, in a wholly invented website, the email address should match the website you’re visiting. is going to add credibility. should take it away (my apologies to whoever owns


In the About Us section, you’ll see whatever the website owner wants you to learn about them. While the scammers may use friendly, welcoming words, English is not their native tongue. They butcher the language to an almost criminal level. You’ll also notice they’ve vomited the alphabet with nonsensical sentences. Sure, some legitimate overseas websites miss a word here or there, but for the most part, they make sense. Scammers go well beyond that.


While trying to wrap your head around the language used, check out some of their ads on their website. Here’s a prime example:


What, exactly, does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine. Look around for glaring errors. Scammers are cheap bastards. They won’t invest in tools to correctly translate what they’re trying to convey and won’t hire a copywriter to write their content. They’re spending only enough money to get the fake website published to fool you.


If you order from one of these scammers, will you receive anything? In some cases, yes. You may receive a whiskey Advent calendar, and when you open it, there’s junk inside, such as tiny ornaments or other penny trinkets. But they’ve shipped to you; they can provide a tracking number and show it was delivered, making your claim with your credit/debit card company more difficult.


Please, don’t let FOMO overpower your common sense. Watch for red flags. If something seems too good to be true, chances are it is. Buy from retailers who have a history of selling these Advent calendars. Sure, they charge three times the amount as the scammers, but you’ll get what you ordered.


Here are some legitimate retailers. Please note that I am not endorsing or recommending any of these companies; I’ve never purchased from them.



Enjoy gift-giving and your upcoming holiday season. Cheers!




  1. Regarding Cask Cartel, potential buyers should know that Cask Cartel has a highly unusual refund/return policy. I would urge anyone buying from them to first read and thoroughly understand their very restrictive policy. I put in an order for a hard-to-find bottle (Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 2008) and didn't realize that Cask Cartel contracts with liquor stores to fulfill orders. They took my order without actually having the bottle at the price listed, later telling me that they found one for about $200 more. It felt very much like a deliberate bait-and-switch. Because of their hard-line policy, I had to wait 30 days for them to try to fulfill it at the price agreed to before I got my money back. Lesson learned.

    1. Great to know, thank you. As I stated above I have no experience buying from any of the vendors I've listed, I just know they're legitimate. I had a somewhat similiar experience with ResereveBar on a bottle of Glenmo Tale of Winter. Cheers!

  2. Good advice Jeffrey. Here's an alternative thought ...

    Round up a collective of 24 like-minded individuals, each providing a single bottle they are willing to share. A 750 mL bottle has twenty-five 30 mL pours (or 24 one ounce samples allowing for a little spillage). Participants secure 30 mL sample bottles (Google search "24 1 oz boston round glass bottles"). 1 oz samples can be shared within the group. Each participant pays for their shared bottle and the cost of their 30 mL containers. A person (or a small group) redistribute the samples within the 24 boxes, and when completed, participants pick up their prepared box.

    This year, our local whiskey enthusiast group (about 175 members) is doing two (the first filled within a day), an American Whiskey and a second World Whiskey themed calendar.

    This is a fun way to sample whiskey among friends and be exposed to products one might not otherwise find.

    1. That's an excellent idea. Thanks, Mom (because only my mother calls me Jeffrey) :D

  3. Thank you for this information. You know you are my first place I go to when I am buying some new whiskey. I did buy one once but it was direct from the distillery so didn't need to check that one with you.

    I also liked the comment of a gathering and sharing and making own calendar.

  4. Good hints, but I wouldn’t exactly say that English is not the native tongue of all scammers.


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