Not often we review whisky accessories here, in fact this is the first, but where hip-flasks are concerned I think you would be hard pushed to find a whisky-drinker who doesn’t own one.
These little flasks are essential if you ask me, the thought of trying to endure an enormous wedding or christening without one simply doesn’t bear thinking about. And to reach the top of a mountain not to be rewarded by a slug of tasty whisky, well it barely makes it worth climbing. Whatever your activity – whether that be shivering on the side-lines of a pitch, watching a match or the banks of a river, fishing or even just heading out for a walk -the hip flask is essential.
In my case, I own several and like many others, have been on the receiving end of promo flasks which come alongside bottles, engraved pewter flasks as presents and even a couple of old vintage flasks which are pretty much heirlooms.
The trouble I’ve faced with all of these is the simple fact that I seem to wear them out and more often than not I find myself at a christening or half-way up a mountain with whisky seeping into my jacket/shirt/rucksack and although smelling of whisky doesn’t bother me, it can in fact bother others…apparently.
So in a seemingly never ending quest for the perfect flask I have found two solid and sturdy options. Both at opposite ends of the price scale.
1st up Stanley… Stainless Steel, Around £15-20
These cheap heavy weight flasks pack a monstrous 8oz’s (236ml) – roughly a third of a 70cl bottle. Being a Stanley flask, its obviously heavy duty and, according to the box, also ‘Leak Proof’ and coming from a manufacturer that produces tools, thermos flasks, etc I would say they are right. I’ve dragged one around on numerous missions and its had some nasty drops – the kind that would have been the death of a more delicate pewter flask. I have to say it stands up to all kinds of punishment.
Other winning features are the wide mouthpiece which makes for easy filling and the attached screw cap, making it all the better for extreme conditions and extreme dramming. Plus being cheap, if you do drop it down a ravine or lose it, you won’t be too gutted – well, depending what you had in it.
The downside of these flasks is that they lack style and they are massive. It would look right at home in a rucksack, or in this case a January mountain bike ride, but not inside your jacket at a wedding or similar affair. However, for a cheap, sturdy flask I have to say this is one of the best out there.
2nd up SWIG, Stainless Steel, £61-£123.
Prices varying for different flask pouches/jackets, engraving etc.
An ample capacity of 6oz (170ml) means you have plenty of room for your trusty elixir, and should still have some left after handing it round a bunch of thirsty pals. Plus when its full it’s not so heavy that it drags you down, like some 8oz flasks I’ve had.
The flask seems incredibly well made with a sturdy and substantial join between the mouth piece and the body of the flask. This is really important as this is where the majority of my flasks have failed, causing the nightmare slow pocket-leak, usually when the weld for whatever reason is not sufficient. Definitely not the case here.
Each flask is individually numbered and comes presented in a neat slinky box along with a card directing you to the SWIG society. This is a nice touch, the society includes an invitation to an annual members party and the potential for monthly re-fills in the future. Not quite a self-filling flask, but the next best thing.
This particular one is the executive flask and comes in a wee black leather pouch but there are tons of variations, it’s nice to hear from SWIG that all these accessories, box, jackets, etc. are all made in the UK.
This is by far the slinkiest flask I’ve had. I’m not usually one to be impressed with packaging, but it’s clear a lot of thought and attention has gone into the presentation and the design of these flasks.
But presentation aside, it’s a quality, sturdy flask that can clearly take a beating. After filling and shaking aggressively like a lunatic, there is no trace of leaking and after dropping (not intentionally), its clear it can survive a long drop onto a hard surface.
All-in-all it’s a top notch flask, smart enough to take along to a fancy event, but also sturdy enough to handle an outdoor lifestyle.
Overall… Both flasks are great and between the two you can make sure you have whisky with you just about everywhere you go.
SWIG currently have a sale on, so now would be a good time to snap one up. You can check out there website HERE