Rye Review: Davidson Reserve Rye

Just as the resurgence of bourbon has led to the astounding growth of rye, the public’s love of craft beer and microbreweries have paved the road for micro distilleries. Pick a city with an imagination for culinary delights and beer, and chances are you will discover a micro distillery within a short drive of downtown or city limits. Nashville certainly falls into this category. 

With Tennessee Whiskey giants George Dickel and Jack Daniels both within a short drive south, Nashville is also home to Pritchard’s, Nashville Craft Distillery, Pennington’s Distillery, Corsair Distillery, Fugitives Spirts, and Nelson’s Greenbriar Distillery the producers of Belle Meade Bourbon. Additionally, Leiper’s Fork Distillery locates just south of Nashville in Williamson County. Natives, transplants, and tourists a like have a litany of local offerings to sample and to stock their home bar. 

It should not come as a surprise that anyone with a still and the necessary capital are seeking to throw their hat into the whiskey game. With rye whiskey nine liter cases up roughly 800% from 2009 to 2017 and Bourbons with a price tag higher than $25 up 3.3 billion cases since 2010, distillers would be stark mad not to enter into this turkey shoot. Pennington’s Distillery, a company who’s flag ship product is a Tennessee sipping cream, bought their ticket in October of 2017 with their first whiskey Davidson Reserve Rye. 

Nose 2.75/5

Right on the start of the nose there’s a fair amount of caramel and fresh cut grass. There’s not a high amount of ethanol in a large rocks glass and light oak tannins. There’s nothing incredibly special on the nose, but it does not have a cheap, young quality to it. With a little time and air, the desirable notes begin to dissipate. 

Palate 2.5/5

This rye is sweet on the front and as that sweetness rolls away, it’s all grain with tertiary caramel, oaky walnuts, and grass. For being bottled at 100 proof, it’s hard to tell. The viscosity is similar to water. This 100% Rye drinks like an 80 proofer. 

Finish 2.5/5

Light to medium finish that starts strong and grain forward and dissipates with the quickness. Grain lingers on the palate lightly for a short while like a signature. 

Price 2/5

Taking into consideration that rye is an expensive grain and that Pennington Distillery did in fact distill, mature, and bottle this offering, the $50-$60 price tag is still a little steep. However, I look forward to trying some of their other offerings, particularly their bourbon with a wheated mash bill containing 22% malt. 

Total 9.75/20 

That’s all for me this week. Shout out to 312 Pizza Company in Germantown Nashville for having a great whiskey selection. As always any comments, concerns, or snide remarks you can find me on Instagram. 

Matt Leonard


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