Legend has it that Johnny Drum was a boy who wanted to join the civil war in the 1860’s and left his home in Kentucky. Unfortunately Johnny was underage at the time so he could not join as a soldier and instead served as a drummer boy, hence the name Johnny Drum. After the war Johnny returned home to Kentucky to settle down and start a corn farm. It wasn’t long until Johnny found a way to turn into his excess corn into a profit by converting it into bourbon. The story goes that he refined the recipe over and over again until it became one of the most sought after whiskeys in the region. The modern day Johnny Drum pays homage to little Johnny who served in the war and then served his country even further by producing fine whiskey.
Today we are going to talk about Johnny Drum Private Stock the modern day top shelf Johnny from Willett. It comes in at 101 proof with NAS (No age statement.) I would guess it is somewhere in the eight to twelve year range based on the color and level of oak in the palate but I’m sure it’s a blend. There used to be a fifteen year version but I believe that was discontinued a couple years back and they switched to the NAS variant I am tasting today. Now it’s time for the fun part, the tasting.
First off I notice the color which is a nice golden brown, slightly darker than average but not too deep. The legs of the whiskey are long and linger on the side of the glass. The nose is quite enjoyable and I get cloves and cinnamon at first but the more it opens up it changes to a sweeter cinnamon sugar with a light fruitiness, very little astringency from the alcohol. The palate has a slight tinge from the alcohol but it fades quickly and changes to stone fruit and berries with some oak on the back end. This whiskey has a nice mouth-feel and isn’t too oily or too thin, it’s right in the middle. Finally the finish is long and full of black peppercorn and berries with a very slight mint as it fades away. All in all I’m glad I finally got my hands on a bottle and i find it definitely worth it for the price point and it just makes me want to try more of the higher end offerings that Willett has to offer.