Whisky Suggest has a pretty comprehensive database, with tens of thousands of bottles categorized and listed. However, it is nowhere near complete. Distilleries are constantly creating new expressions. Independent bottlers are always finding new barrels to bottle up. And there are countless single cask variations that many of you want to capture in your collection or tasting notes.
All that to say, we need your help to keep our whiskey database as accurate and up-to-date as possible. And we know you feel the same when it comes to tracking and sharing all the bottles you love.
In this article, we hope to be as transparent as possible with how things work currently. Also, we hope to clear up any confusion on exactly what the “Suggest Whisky” feature does and should be used for.
An Always Expanding Whiskey Database
As mentioned, there are always new whiskeys being released that are not currently reflected in our database. It is just part of the joy of being a whiskey lover. Well, and part of the burden of being a database administrator. To be clear, currently all additions to the database are completely manual. The new Whisky Suggest team hopes to automate and improve this process soon.
We do our best to keep track of new releases from big brands and add those bottles to the app, but there are so many limited or individual cask releases, that it’s impossible for our team to keep up. That being said, we understand that many of you are very particular about your collections. Some of you also enjoy comparing your tasting notes across batches or even individual barrels. We want to continue to support this usage. That is where you come in!
“Suggest Whisky” = Submitting a New Whiskey
Many longtime users have used this feature successfully. However, there seems to be some general confusion on the “Suggest Whisky” feature. The name can be a little misleading. If you come across a whiskey that you own or have tasted and you cannot find it in the app, that is when you use “Suggest Whisky”.
Essentially, you are suggesting that we get our act together and get that bottle added to our database. Just remember, when a bottle is missing from the app, suggest we add it.
Why Can’t I Find my Favorite Whiskey?
Not to belabor this point, but there are a lot of whiskeys out there. If you are looking at a bottle filled from an individual barrel, it is highly possible we just have not come across this unique bottle yet. This applies to general single barrel releases, store picks, and individual bottler exclusives.
However, if you are having difficulty finding something more common, there may be other reasons you are unable to successfully search for it:
One of the easiest ways to find your specific bottle is by using our barcode scanner. Unfortunately, even that is not guaranteed to get you the exact result you want. Distillery single barrels and store picks often all use the same barcode. So although scanning your barcode may return similar single barrel selections, it is highly likely your specific bottling may be absent.
Alternatively, manufacturers may use multiple barcodes to represent one whiskey. For instance, different bottle sizes (a full size bottle vs a sample, or the 700 mL world market sizing vs the 750 mL US sizing) may each have its own unique barcode. We do try to capture and group these all together. Some barcodes, however, may just be missing and need to be added to the database.
Lastly, just to make everything more confusing, barcodes sometimes just change. If you come across a bottle that just will not scan and return search results, let us know the bottle info and barcode so we can get it added.
Get Specific with Your Search
If barcode scanning fails (or you don’t have a barcode to scan) you can still attempt to search by name. Try to get as specific and as accurate as possible with your search terms. If you are looking for a bottle of the new Ardbeg Scorch, search for that. Just searching Ardbeg will yield hundreds of results. While in this scenario, the Ardbeg Scorch is near the top of the results list, more unique or older bottles may be found deep in the results.
For Independent Bottler releases from other distilleries, search both names ie Ardbeg + Signatory Vintage. Our current naming conventions try to capture both the original distiller and the bottler in the bottle name itself. Again, there are thousands of bottles in the database, but sometimes it takes a little digging to track them down.
How to Use “Suggest Whisky”
If all else fails, and you are still unable to find your bottle in the app, head over to the “Suggest Whisky” feature from the main menu. From here, we will ask you to fill out the following form:
The more information you can provide, especially for the more unique bottlings, the better. This will enable us to quickly verify the accuracy of the data. More importantly, we can confirm that it is not already in the database. Below is some additional detail on each of the requested fields to ensure you are filling them out properly.
Suggest Whisky Form Definitions
- Photo – Including a photo, whether snapped from your phone or found online from a bottle shop or distillery is always helpful. It will be included in the app if it is a high quality image. Even a quick shot of the label can help tremendously in researching the bottle. View this article for more tips on taking photos using the app.
- Whisky Name – What is the name of the specific bottle you are suggesting. The more detailed the better here. Calling out if it’s cask strength, single cask, a unique finish, a special release, specific batch number, or from an independent bottler can and should all be included.
- Brand – The brand refers to the distiller. This is the brand name you are familiar with, and not the parent distiller or corporate owner.
- Select Country – Choose the country from the list where your whiskey submission was produced.
- Barcode – If you have the physical bottle in front of you, please include the barcode. You can type this in manually, or use the “Scan barcode” button to automatically populate this item.
- Cask Type – If known, include the cask or barrel types the whiskey was aged and/or finished in. Examples of what go here are ex-bourbon barrels, New American Oak, Oloroso Sherry finished, etc.
- Cask No. – For single cask releases, you can include the cask or barrel number from the label that the whiskey was bottled from.
- Vintage Year – For individual barrels or special batch release, include the year that the whisky was distilled.
- Age – Include the stated age of the bottle in years. If unknown or a non-age stated whiskey, leave blank.
- ABV – Lastly include the alcohol by volume percentage (not the proof number if that is listed on the bottle also)
Once the form is filled out to the best of your knowledge, press submit.
What Happens After I Submit a Whiskey?
After you hit submit, your work is complete, and ours begins.
We will receive a notification that a whiskey has been submitted, along with all the information you filled out. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, updating and adding whiskeys is currently very manual. We work through every submission, fill in missing information, and add the results to the database. While we hope to get to a state that we act on your submission in a day or so, we currently have a lengthy backlog still to work through. Thank you for you patience.
Once we review your submission, it will either be approved, and added to to the database, or rejected. Generally, the only reason a whisky suggestion gets rejected is because it is already in the database, possibly under a different name. Either way, we will notify you (currently via email) when we have processed your submission. If it did get rejected, we will try to help you out by providing you with the correct naming, or by adding a barcode to the bottle if that is the case.
Hopefully this helps you understand our current process and how to appropriately use the “Suggest Whisky” functionality.