Johnny Drum Private Stock — Review

Johnny Drum, a great value bourbon.
Johnny Drum, a great value bourbon.


Johnny Drum is real popular in Louisville.  It flies off the shelves!  I finally bought myself a bottle to see what the buzz was all about.  Now I know.

Company Specs:

“With water added, the nose has some distinct similarities to a great single malt with wonderful woodsy, smoky notes taking over on the palate & then into the finish.”

Color: Mahogany
Nose: Intensity – 2.5; Pine trees, campfire smoke, takes on a wonderful single malt nose when water is added
Palate: Smoke elements quite prevalent, deep forests & woods, candied pecans, musty, oranges
Finish: Length – Medium; Pepper, spice, mint, a blend of forests and cedarwood


Double Gold Medal, 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition
Three Stars/Recommended, F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal
90.5 Rating, Jim Murray’s 2012 Whisky Bible

Taste Rating: B-

It’s hot and spicy and bold.  At 101 proof, I guess one should expect some heat, but to be honest, it was a bit hotter than I expected.  I’ve had cask strength bourbons that don’t pack the punch that Johnny does.  And to be clear, I’m talking about the burn.  Some love the burn, some don’t.  For me, I guess it depends.  Johnny’s burn was a bit too much for my liking.

After the burn, the bourbon flavor was exactly what they said, all pepper and spice and mint.  So, that could be why old Johnny comes in so hot.  You go from burn, to spice, pepper and mint!  Quite a transition, and no reprieve for the faint of heart, i.e, those that like a smooth expression.

Value Rating: A-

I’ve seen it priced under $30.  For that price, it’s a good deal.  You get a bourbon with a lot of character, one that makes a great mixer as well.  This stuff is killer in a manhattan or old fashioned.

Overall Rating: B

I’m not in love with Johnny Drum.  That said, I would recommend it to those who are adventurous, those who like bold bourbons.

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