Johnny Drum Private Stock

Johnny Drum is a reference to every young man in the South who sought to serve with the Confederate Army following the onset of hostilities in April 1861.  "Johnny," according to the makers of Johnny Drum was "turned down because of his age.  Eventually Johnny found a regiment to take him in and he served as drummer boy."  Apparently Johnny went home to Kentucky to make corn whiskey following the war.  That's the legend of Johnny Drum- it's sort of a half-baked American military/whiskey history, but I suppose it's pretty likely that at least one young CSA drummer boy went home to KY to make hootch. 

The bottle of the Johnny Drum Private Stock identifies the responsible distilling company as "Johnny Drum Distilling Company" in Bardstown.  As most folks know, that's simply a pseudonym for Kentucky Bourbon Distillers- bottlers of the Willett family of whiskies, Rowan's Creek, Noah's Mill and others.  While KBD has been a non-distiller producer for years, its revamped distillery includes a still which is pumping out whiskey as we speak.  

One interesting note about Johnny Drum Private Stock- it's charcoal filtered.  Charcoal filtering is a process normally associated with Tennessee Whiskey, which is not a category of whiskey codified in federal alcohol regulations but is widely recognized as a distinct category of whiskey.  Many Tennessee whiskies also meet the legal definition of bourbon.  Many bourbons are charcoal filtered.  In other words, the process doesn't affect a whiskey's legal classification.

My understanding is that many master bourbon distillers believe charcoal filtering removes important flavors.  Johnny Drum Private Stock is clearly smokier and woodier than most bourbons I've been sipping, proof that the charcoal filtering has a significant impact on a whiskey's flavor profile.  However, this bourbon hits the spot on the right occasions. 

Johnny Drum Private Stock

Kentucky Bourbon Distillers
101 proof
$35 at Burris Liquors in Charleston, SC

Color: Dark, reddish amber. 

Nose: The nose is unapologetically woody and smoky.  The undertone of corn reveals it to be a younger bourbon.  Not my favorite nose.

Tasting Notes:  Despite the 101 proof, the sip is initially gentle with corn, oak, malt, and chocolate notes.  As the whiskey develops in the mouth, cinnamon spice pops and tingles the tongue through a dry finish.  

Overall: B-.  JDPS is a great value bourbon.  The smoky notes work extremely well with the cinnamon spice for a drinking experience that will put some hair on your chest.  This is a rare bourbon that I drop ice into to temper the spice.  It's not particularly sophisticated, but it's strong and American and pretty damn good for what I paid.

Peer Reviews:  

Drink Spirits

Leaf Enthusiast