Balvenie’s virtual whisky shelf. Is it any good?

The Balvenie website has a new flashy addition: The Whisky Shelf. Just a few words on what the idea is about.

What does it do?

You fill in an online form and gain access to you personal member’s area called Warehouse 24. From there you can go on to create your Whisky Shelf. You are supposed to replicate your private collection there, rate the whiskies, compare them and store your notes on them. You also have an option to add whiskies to your Wish List. It’s all stored there for you on Balvenie’s servers and you can access the information about your collection from any computer in the world. Very fancy. This is what it looks like:

The Whisky Shelf 3

Is it all just about scoring your whisky? No. You can also go through a full sensory evaluation of selected malts and create detailed profiles which will be visible to other users. Again: fancy!

The Whisky Shelf 4

We absolutely love the idea, it has a potential of being an online Mecca for whisky enthusiasts from around the world. Unfortunately the site has one major flaw.

No networking here!

Once you have rated a whisky, you can see the other users who did the same and view their shelves. And that’s it. The site does not allow adding friends, sending messages, e-mails or commenting on whiskies and other people’s reviews at all. At first I thought I was being daft and just couldn’t navigate it, but no, this is just what it is like. A site without networking features? Boring. It’s 21st century, guys!

Who needs the ratings anyway?

It’s worth to question the very idea of having to rate what is on your shelf. I don’t know if you have noticed but Chris and I operate no-scores policy. We don’t feel the need of attaching numbers to what we sample. The Whisky Shelf doesn’t give you the option of not rating your stuff. I came across a user who rated a few whiskies “0″ in all categories. How about that, is it fair?


Get an account, it’s a useful tool and good fun. But don’t expect to be entertained forever. Unless you are a whisky alien.

You can set up an account and start filling your shelf HERE. Good luck.


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