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David James Bourbon and American Whiskey Review

In American Whiskey Reviews, Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Paul NeedhamLeave a Comment


Its sweet-roasted start on the nose comes with a brief aroma of cigar and is followed by a hint of butterscotch taste with a deep dark chocolate body. The finish gives you a long, slight earthy taste of toasted walnuts that will have you savoring every sip.David James Spirits
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David James Straight Bourbon WHISKEy


  • DISTILLER: Undisclosed (TN). Bottled by David James Spirits at the Neeley Family Distillery in KY.
  • MASH BILL: Undisclosed
  • AGE: Aged 8 years and 10 months in American White Oak barrels. Lightly filtered. Mingled in Kentucky in a small batch of 25 barrels.
  • YEAR: 2018
  • PROOF: 111.2 Proof (55.6% ABV)
  • MSRP: $75-100
  • BUY ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com

NOSE: Very short | Sweet tobacco | Peanut M&M’s | Beef jerky

TASTE: Dark chocolate-covered cherries

FINISH: Sweet | Warm & long | Baseball peanuts and walnuts

SHARE WITH: A BBQ – these flavors would pair really well with the smoke and meat of a cookout.

WORTH THE PRICE: Because this is a craft whiskey, the price range I was able to find is all over the map. I think that at the bottom of the range that it is worth the price.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: If you have ready access to this one, I’d try it at a bar first because of the price point. If you’re unlikely to see more than one in the wild, pull the trigger if the cost suits your normal budget.

OVERALL: When I get a sample to review, I usually don’t read the brand’s tasting notes until I’ve sampled the product at least once. After my initial tasting, I was surprised by how aligned David James’ and my own notes were – maybe the most I’ve agreed with anyone at any tasting, outside of Four Roses tasting like Juicy Fruit. On my second tasting, I wasn’t able to pick up anything new or novel, but I think it’s okay to be a one-trick pony if your one trick is good enough.

Overall this was a really pleasant sipper for me and I went through the sample quicker than I would have liked. Both the nose and the palate are much softer than the proof would suggest, with virtually no burn on either.

Learn more about Paul’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…


Its sweet nose of vanilla and caramel take you back to your neighborhood candy shop and is followed by a medley of fruit flavors. The finish closes your journey with a subtle earthy oak taste that will have you savoring every sip.David James Spirits
Click to explore our complete library of reviews to help you choose your next perfect bottle.

David James Straight American Whiskey


  • DISTILLER: Undisclosed (IN). Bottled by David James Spirits at the Neeley Family Distillery in KY.
  • MASH BILL: Undisclosed
  • AGE: Distilled in Indiana and aged 10 years in Southern Indiana and Northern Kentucky. Lightly filtered. Mingled in Kentucky in a small batch of 21 barrels.
  • YEAR: 2018
  • PROOF: 119.6 Proof (59.8% ABV)
  • MSRP: $60-85
  • BUY ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com

NOSE: Rubbing alcohol  |  Oak  |  Honey  |  Weak Vanilla

TASTE: Sweet, toasted oak  |  Cinnamon joins the honey – Hot Tamales candies

FINISH: Simple  |   Oak  |  A little pineapple on the last couple sips if you’ve let it breathe

SHARE WITH: The judges of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

WORTH THE PRICE: Not to me.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Far be it from me to disagree with the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, where this bottle earned “Double Gold,” and “Best Corn Whiskey,” but this one is a Bust for me.

OVERALL: Again, the fine folks at David James Spirits nailed their tasting notes in my eyes, so what else can I tell you? This one just didn’t give me anything to get excited about. The nose was much younger than its age, and the strongest thing it gave me was rubbing alcohol, no matter how long I let it breathe or how often I came back to it.

Like their bourbon, this offering from David James does not have the burn of 119.6-proof juice. That being said, the taste just doesn’t say “10-year-old whiskey” to me, outside of the emphasis on the oak which is typical of an older American whiskey.

Learn more about Paul’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

David James Spirits Dual Review

David James Spirits, out of Kentucky, is seemingly in that awkward adolescent phase that a lot of craft distillers must go through. Their website touts a "Purity focused" product that is in the works and that they are excited to put out in roughly three years. During this waiting time, distillers must make a choice: do they bottle some of their own juice while it's young and maybe not up to their own standards, or do they outsource the aging to other distillers and bottle the work of someone else?
David James Spirits chose the latter and both of the two samples I was able to taste were sourced from other distillers. They disclose that the whiskey in their American Whiskey is from Indiana and that their bourbon is from Tennessee. Seasoned whiskey detectives will probably make the same guesses as me and attribute them to MGP and Dickel respectively, as few other options exist in these areas. 

While their website has all the trappings of a marketing-driven craft distillery - the page of bios with chummy nicknames, and with Instagram being the only way to get in touch with them - there are reasons to be excited about their future.

First, some of the blending they're doing already is strong. Furthermore, in addition to some of the more flowery language, their "What's Aging" page promises a well-aged, non-chill filtered spirit that has access to a prime aging location. For now, I recommend the bourbon they're bottling if it's within your price range and would encourage you to give their own stuff a chance when the time comes if you're in the mood to #drinkcurious.


Disclaimer: David James Spirits provided Bourbon & Banter with samples of their products for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.


About the Author
Paul Needham

Paul Needham

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A self-made whiskey drinker, Paul’s journey began with Bourbon: America’s National Spirit. Over a decade later, his shelves now contain whiskies from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, India, and Japan. A life-long educator, what Paul appreciates most about this community is the regular opportunities he has both to teach and to learn while enjoying a drink with new and old friends!

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