Tennessee is steeped in distilling tradition. The most popular American whiskey in the world is Jack Daniel's Old No. 7. Then there is George Dickel, the distillery that provides many with sourced whiskeys. Most folks would stop right there if asked to name Tennessee distilleries. There are many others, they're just not on everyone's radar. One such distillery is Pennington Distilling Co. located in Nashville.
Founded by the husband-wife team of Jeff and Jenny Pennington in 2011, the Penningtons started with Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream. Usually, you see distillers start with gins and vodkas, not whiskey creams. But, they had a plan and they ran with it. Next up was Pickers Vodka. Finally, in 2014, the Penningtons started distilling Bourbon. They named the product line Davidson Reserve.
Then, in 2017, they released a limited-edition Bourbon called Genesis. Released every October 17th, and always releasing only 1017 bottles (in case you didn't catch that, 1017 is October 17th). What Genesis is is a blend of three of the original 25 barrels distilled in 2014. This is their Birthday Bourbon, and the 2020 edition is the sixth year of the release.
Distilled from a mash of 70% white corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley, Genesis is bottled at 100°. Pennington suggests in its marketing materials that it is Bottled-in-Bond, although it doesn't say that anywhere on the label. As this is extremely limited (there are, at most, only 1016 other bottles out there), finding retail pricing is $99.99, and if you can find a bottle, like anything else allocated, it is probably above MSRP.
I'd like to thank Pennington for sending me a bottle of Genesis in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's #DrinkCurious, shall we?
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, Genesis appeared as a reddish-amber. It created a thicker rim that brought about fast, medium legs to fall back to the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: Fruit could be smelled from across the room. As the glass came closer to my face, it was easier to narrow aromas down. Honeysuckle and raisin came first, followed by green grape and cherry. I didn't pick up any wood notes or ethanol. When I breathed the vapor in my mouth, vanilla and raisin danced across my tongue.
Palate: My first sip seemed thin and light. But, the body gained weight as I continued to explore what was in my glass. It never got heavy or full-bodied but did offer an oily texture. Corn and toasted oak were predominant on the front. As the Bourbon moved to my middle-palate, blueberries and cherries blended with candied almond. Then, on the back, I tasted tobacco leaf and vanilla, which made for an interesting combination.
Finish: A long-lasting finish of cinnamon, honey-roasted peanuts, almond, and charred oak kept things going and warmed my throat.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Tennessee Whisky is a category I don't delve into often. I stick to the professional blenders who source from Dickel or bottles of the higher-end offerings from Jack Daniel's. This is nothing like the standard fare from either of those distilleries. For that matter, this is nothing like the "good" stuff from those, either.
Instead, what I experienced was unique (always a scary word) and I appreciate what the Penningtons have distilled and aged. I have no idea what the previous three releases of Genesis were like, but this six-year is delicious, and I'm thrilled to have it in my whiskey library. That, folks, means this snags my Bottle rating. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It