Davidson Reserve Tennessee Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Wheaters are very popular and, for some, almost cult-like status. If you're unfamiliar with that term, it means that instead of rye as the second most significant ingredient in the mash, wheat is used. Distilled wheat has no taste; it highlights other things in the mash and barrel while providing a more "smooth" or "rounded" mouthfeel. In the case of Bourbon, a wheater will typically be sweeter because the corn is highlighted.

Today I'm reviewing Davidson Reserve Tennessee Straight Bourbon. Distilled by Pennington Distilling Co. of Nashville, it is made from a mash of 60% Tennessee corn, 22% Tennessee Red Wheat, and 18% malted barley. It was aged for "at least" four years and is bottled at 101.7°.  You can expect to pay about $44.99 for a 750ml. 

I've had some good luck with other Davidson Reserve expressions. I enjoyed the Sour MashTennessee Straight Rye, and Genesis Tennessee Straight Bourbon.  I was less impressed with their Four Grain Tennessee Straight Bourbon. But, a 75% positive rating is pretty darned good for any distillery.

I'd like to thank Pennington Distilling Co. for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now it is time to #DrinkCurious.

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Bourbon presented as a deep red amber.  It created a medium rim, and the legs were sticky, slow, and fat.

Nose:  While my glass was set aside with the Bourbon rested, I thought it to be very fragrant. It was sweet and fruity. However, when I brought the glass to my face, I picked up sawdust, toasted oak, caramel, and berry, but the latter was muted.  When I inhaled the vapor through my lips, the only thing I found was corn.

Palate:  The mouthfeel was oily with a medium body. On the front, I tasted corn and cocoa powder. Then, in the middle, flavors of nutmeg and allspice. The back consisted of oak and subtle orange peel.

Finish:  The finish was short-to-medium. Corn, clove, and toasted oak hung around. I also experienced a touch of char and coffee.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Shockingly, this Bourbon was on the bland side. Sure, there were flavors to pick out, but it was also corn heavy. The finish was less than impressive, and while the price was attractive, the rest of it was not. Unfortunately, I can't recommend buying this Bourbon, and as such, it takes a Bust rating.  Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs that you do so responsibly.


  1. So since its small batch product and everyones palette is different, possibly there could be some good batches out there.

    1. There may very well be. I can only report on the ones that I taste.

  2. I purchased a store pick of the Davidsons Reserve wheated...the first sip was awful, so I gave it some time to breathe. Unfortunately it got no better - whether it be neat or on a rock. Waited almost a year - still bad. Put some charred oak in there and put it for 6 months in the attic...and it is just not drinkable. This one was a drain pour for me.


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