Johnny Drum Private Stock Review

Part of the purpose of this Blog is to celebrate what we receive for all of our hard training.One of the things that I receive is a gentle appetite now and again for good glass of the true. I will be providing reviews of the bottles that happen to come my way for your edification.

This first post is for the Kentucky Bourbon Johnny Drum Private Stock.


It is a charcoal filtered sour mash bourbon whiskey from the Johnny Drum Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. It retails for about $28.

I picked it up because I was looking for a bourbon I hadn’t had before and was around the $25 – $40 price point. It caught my eye because of the note tied to the bottle that detailed that it had won the 2010 Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It had apparently beat some very prized bourbons that year like the 20 year Pappy Van Winkle which is one of the best Bourbons made… period.

So I had relatively high hopes it having won such a prestigious competition (although I am wise enough to know that awards only carry so much legitimacy)… were these hopes to be realized or was I to be disappointed?

Johnny Drum is a brand from the collection of Even Kulsveen’s Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. He buys and bottles the whiskeys, and the distillery for an individual bottle is unstated. There are Johnny Drum bottles that are 4,12,and 15 years old. The Johnny Drum Private Stock bottle reviewed here does not have an age stated, but I am told previous editions of Johnny Drum Private Stock with the same labeling have been labeled 15 yrs old. My guess here is that this is mostly 15 yr old whiskey with probably some younger whiskies in as well

The first thing of note when attempting to get to the 50.5% liquid inside (yes it is of higher strength) is the annoyance with getting the top off! It has a light tan plastic (can’t think of the exact term at the moment) covering over the screw cap (yes screw cap… not a big deal that it isn’t a cork but..) that doesn’t have an open spot to pull from (as most do) and so you have to kind of just chip away at it until you are able to unscrew the cap. Not a good user experience from the beginning!

The review:

Nose: Earthy and a bit sweet. A bit of rubbing alcohol and 3 day old corn mash. Perhaps a bit of furniture varnish. Mostly just smells of fire from the 101 proof that lifts the hairs in the nose.

Taste: The front of the palate gets mostly dry brown corn but then it really is mostly just the fire of the 101 proof. A bit of cinnamon and under cooked Yukon potato. Gritty.. a bit like tasting a better bourbon that had some gravel mixed with it. Very little on the mid palate because of the overwhelming fire. The finish still has the lingering rubbing alcohol with a bit of well sanitized kitchen granite countertop. Just a bit of gently burnt cedar hangs on the back of the tongue. Not a pleasing finish.

Balance: Very little really. It is mostly corn then medicine cabinet then a desire for dark bread to kill it.

One positive note is it “works” very quickly. This must be attributed to the 50.5% and with this bourbon one glass that measures two fingers does the trick and quickly.

Score: 4 Black Cats (out of 10)

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We are warriors and need to celebrate,




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