Just did a playthrough, regarding the whip. I really like how physical it feels, it behaves like something in the real world to me.
I had some issues getting it to catch on to the levers, but then I am an inexperienced whip wielder so a bit hard to say if it's just me or not ;) But probably. I noticed that it seemed to stick to the lever, like it was made out of sticky goop like those things you could get in a plastic egg from a vending machine at the grocery store when I was a kid.
One thing that is a bit freaky is the roll-up :D It makes it feel like I'm actually holding a live snake or a huge worm! I kind of expected to find eyes on the whip if I took a closer look xD
But yeah, all in all it feels very physical and is kind of neat to carry around even if I didn't use it throughout the level (as you mentioned). If nothing else it can be used to fish gems out of the air.