Whisky Companion App for Android Review

whisky companion

 starstarstarstar                        The next review will be Whisky Notebook

 Price: $5.99 NZD Not free, but I think offers good value.

What’s Good: Easy to download with fairly good usability. It is extremely good for storing your own notes etc. and has a reasonably extensive database and one of the better glossaries I have seen. In a whisky search I was able to find Singleton, Thomson & The English Whisky Co.

What could be improved: Some distilleries have limited information, or list a limited number of bottlings. (Most have a reasonable amount of information.) The flavour map doesn’t really contribute much to the experience as it stands.

Overall: This is an ideal app for those wanting a general reference source on hand & a place to record and refer to their own notes. Excellent for whisky newbies or those wanting to expand their knowledge.

Full Review:

Original download: Quick & Easy

Usability: Generally very good.

It checks for updates frequently, which is good, but can be a little annoying.

Back navigation can be tricky

Dashboard: Easy to read & select from.

Main Dashboard allows you to select from the following main tabs:

Countries, Regions, Distilleries, Whiskies, Search Whisky, My Whiskies, My network, My events * classifications, Flavour Map, Tasting Tips, Whisky Glossary, Base Data

Information Tabs:

Country – select a country & the regions will automatically pop up for you to choose, you can then drill down into the distilleries. Useful if you want to find out what regions there are in Scotland or The US for instance, you can then drill down into distilleries & on into whiskies produced by that distillery

Region: Starts a level lower –  Lists all whisky producing regions globally in alphabetical order

Distilleries: Lists all distilleries globally in alphabetical order

Whiskies: Starts at the lowest level. Lists all whiskies in the database in alphabetical order. Once selected you can add your own information, tasting notes etc. Once saved this is automatically stored in your my whiskies section

Search Whisky: allows you to type in a name & select from a drop down box of suggestions

My Whiskies: Here you can store your own notes on the whiskies you have tasted or distilleries you have visited. If a whisky is not in the database you can add it yourself. You can also back up your information

My Network: Here you can create an account & share details of new whiskies you have tried with other Whisky Companion users. You can also download their notes

My Events: If you get together with friends or attend whisky tasting events, you can create an event & add the whiskies to be sampled to it.

Classifications: This is really the style of whisky. This could be useful if you are looking for a new whisky to try with specific flavour profile. It doesn’t cover all the whiskies in the database and is therefore probably more useful for the whisky novice than the connoisseur.

Flavour Map: A SWOT analysis for whisky? Roughly charts the general flavour profile of some distilleries using four zones referencing four characteristics: smoky, delicate, light & rich. This might be a useful guide for the whisky newbie, but I’m not sure I entirely agree with all the placements and it doesn’t take different bottlings into account. Probably not of much use to the connoisseur. It would be great if users were able to generate their own flavour map based on the whiskies they have sampled

Tasting Tips: Good guide to get the beginner started. This could be expanded to offer a format for a basic whisky tasting. i.e Suggest an order & quantities.

Whisky Glossary: A good comprehensive glossary, although some definitions or explanations could be expanded.

Base Data: The only thing of real use here is the somewhat limited list of independent bottlers. Apparently it controls how the app works on your phone & they recommend that you don’t change anything unless you understand databases. Why include it then?

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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Reviews


Whisky Apps for Android – a review

ImageI’ve had quite a few enquiries as to what I think about the available whisky apps for smart phones. And as I’ve just got a new whizzy android (Sony Xperia Z), it seems like a good time to start writing some reviews.

I will also be downloading the apps onto our Android tablet in store (41 Elliott st CBD Auckland), so if anybody wants to go & try them out & contribute to the feedback – that would be fantastic.

Over the next 3 weeks I will be reviewing 3 different apps available for Android.Sadly I don’t possess an iphone & so can’t look into those at the moment.

Not having used a whisky app before I decided to write my own criteria as to what I think would be useful information to find and functions to use in an app. I have no idea at this point whether any, or none of these criteria are present in the apps I am going to review.

Here are my criteria:

  • Good (current) information on distilleries
  • Tasting notes on current bottlings
  • Info on archived bottlings
  • info on whisky production
  • Search function: search for specific bottling/phrase/term/distillery
  • Ability to add my own tasting notes etc
  • Ability to Record other information – i.e a visit to a distillery

The First App I am trying (and available to try out in store now) is Whisky Companion $3.99 (US) available from Google play

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Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Reviews



Follow The Fat Trout part 3

Lake Taupo - I think - hard to tell!

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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


Strapped in. Ready to go

Starpped in Ready to go

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Whisky


The Fat Trout (the one that got away)

The Fat Trout (the one that got away)

The Adventure

The Fat Trout Scotch Whisky Brand is being enlarged. The new blend has arrived in New Zealand. Follow his diary as he travels around his new country:

“Here I am, just fresh off the boat, having my photograph taken by a nice Dutch Lady, (thank you Wendy), on the top of the Sky Tower.
That was AWESOME!!!! Tune in later to see where I’m at!”

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized, Whisky


Whisky Odyssey Part 2 – Islay Encounter with an Alligator

Islay Part 1 – Ardbeg –the stills – the whisky & the Alligator

Islay is one of those Island that always will stick in your memory..that is if you are a whisky buff.
This glorious island boasts many different distilleries and these are known for the peated character of their distillate.
My seventh (or was it eighth) visit to this wonderful place in the world was full of anticipation…I was like a child in a lolly shop..let loose and not knowing where to start and which jars to open first.
Ardbeg was beckoning…our appointment arranged.
Not long after we left Lagavulin the familiar contours of the valley where Ardbeg is located entered our vision…the white buildings with the old still standing straight as a guardian, welcomed us with the sun blazing over our heads, the perfect setting for what was to be a magical tour…
I have visited the distillery at least 7 times and still the excitement got the better of me, knowing the magic that resides behind these walls…still luring me in after all these years. Not much had changed since my last visit 6 years ago barr the fact that we have a new manager at Ardbeg: Mike Heads.

The Ardbegian lunch room was packed with people, as many locals have lunch here as well. If you have had Katey Bart & Michael Heads the privilege to eat here – you know why. Very hard to find an empty seat!
Mike Heads appeared behind us and we introduced ourselves, sharing a few niceties and discussed the option of having lunch now or after the tour. The decision was made for us with the hall full of people having lunch…so the tour option won….fine by me…all smiles.

The tour lasted more than two hours, mainly because we could not stop asking questions and Mike was very generous with his answers…we got on like a house on fire….and got to know the distillery inside out….wonderful.
Unlike a few of the others distilleries we went to on this trip, which were in their silent season, this one was very much alive and breathing like an animal. Puffing and creaking and sweating. Oozing Uisge Beatha.
Lovely Ardbeg Maturing

A last look inside a warehouse and touching the resting barrels as to seek comfort in the knowledge that our whisky for future enjoyment was already laid down to mature….patiently…waiting its time..I could already taste that whisky that was going to be….

The highlight came when Mike invited us to his “Chairman’s study” …a Mecca to the true Ardbeg connoisseur…heaven on 25 Square meters…(Beam me back Scotty!)
Bart's all-time favorite - the Ardbeg 1974 My all-time favourite is the Ardbeg 1974 and there are not many bottles left in the world…and Mike had caught my passion for this particular fine drop. The first whisky we tried WAS the 1974…I can honestly say that tears came into my eyes by the sheer delight of this Ardbeg….to me – not just a whisky…but my all-time favourite.
We rediscovered the Ardbeg 1975, 1978, Kildalton 1981, Lord of the Isles, 2 different festival bottling.,  Corryvreckan committee bottling…the soon to be released Alligator…..The untamed beast of Islay. “This wild, untamed release has been matured in new, heavily charred casks of air-seasoned American white oak, imparting additional smoky, spicy, barbecue flavours. Ardbeg Alligator. Charge your glass…”
I did not want it to end…but the end came…too soon…BUT….NOT QUITE….
….Whisky Shop Customers we persuaded the Alligator to follow us back to New Zealand and you are all invited to meet him next week – He even brought a friend -one of the last bottles sold at Ardbeg of the limited distillery only release Feis Ile 2011. Keep reading the newsletter & facebook for the date to be announced imminently!!!! Gators have short legs and it is taking him a while to walk from the docks. Or perhaps he is being questioned by MAF?

Added: 9.09.11 The Alligator tasting last night was fantastic with a full house, and all tickets snapped up within 2hours of release!. Thanks to all our Ardbeg fans out there who support us at The Whisky Shop.

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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Uncategorized, Whisky Odysseys


Whisky Odyssey Part 1 – The Isle of Arran

Whisky Odyssey – A voyage to Arran….

See more pics on our facebook page

Buy Arran Whisky


Bold plans had been devised from the shores of Aotearoa…to go were neither Katey or myself had gone before.
The isle of Arran sits nicely between the mainland and the long strip of land that leads all the way to Campbell town…Mull of Kintyre… sheltered between both shores, calm water except with south –east winds…a well hidden gem with trees, green pastures..beautiful beaches and one wonderful distillery.
In all the years that I have been going to Scotland on my pilgrimages to find the ‘water of life’ & experience its flavour and delicate nuances, I never set foot on Arran soil. Now I ask myself this was another tremendous highlight on our whirlwind tour…

As an island it’s not the easiest place to get to as it requires a ferry to get there and a ferry to come back..more or less the same as on Islay..and I have been there several times…so not an excuse really.
We were to meet Andy Hogan who was so kind as to give up his daily routine at their Stirling head office and sacrifice his time for a personal tour around the Isle of Arran distillery. The sun was out and shone with full power and made all a real summer is supposed to do.
In one of our earlier e-mails with Andy he had asked if he could ‘catch’ a ride from the ferry to the distillery..of course Andy…no problem..but how do we recognize you…by a red carnation in your left button hole??…we need not to have worried as the Arran logo on his jacket was big enough to trip over…How pleasant was the time sitting on the deck of a slow moving vessel, sun bearing down and a nice cool glass of beer in our hands….bring it on…

The Arran distillery is located at the top of this beautiful island….1 click from Lochranza.
The Arran distillery was in its silent season..maintenance for 3 weeks and a time for staff to relax..although there were plenty around..dedication is what I call it.
A smaller distillery with two stills..the wash still and spirit still..gleaming polished side by side….still a very fresh and new feel. This distillery has been operating for under 20 years and they just released their first and oldest whisky a 15 yo fantastic dram.
In the sampling room we discovered that the older Arrans which are matured in ex. Bourbon barrels developed a better balanced and finer taste…the sherry once were good..but the bourbon once had that added extra…I have to say that Arran whiskies have improved beyond what I expected and are certainly a whisky that needs to find a place in your drinking cabinet.

If you think this is where our Arran adventure ended..your sadly mistaken…so were we…
Andy had booked himself into the same lodge as we had.. on his recommendation ”very highly recommended” were his exact words. Aa wonderful location overlooking the bay …the flat sea shimmering calmly in the fading daylight. A fabulous ruined castle, brick and masonry coloured reddish and looking like autumn leaves on a tree…ever changing in the light.

We were to meet Andy in the hotel next door …50 meters
from the lodge to share dinner, a few bevy’s and small talk. Little did we know
that this hotel has a whisky library with over 250 opened (yes opened) bottles
of whisky!!!.

Whiskies I thought were long gone extinct or well beyond my
price range…..I should not tell you this as you may follow our footsteps and
“clean’ this hotel of all its liquid magic.

I (we) drank Lagavulin 25 yo for 18 pounds, Glenburgie 1964
for 8 pounds, Ardbeg 17 yo, North port (Brechin), Brora 26 yo just to name a
few that we shared…

It was in the small hours of the night that we found our

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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Whisky Odysseys


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