As a preparation for the Kentucky bourbon bottle share, I re-tasted my only bourbon in my collection. The Johnny Drum is a Kentucky bourbon with a story. The bottle is accompanied with a booklet. The story of Johnny Drum is:
“..The year was 1861 – Confederate forces began firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 12, recognized as the official date the Civil War began. Boys as young as eight years old were attempting to sign up to fight for the noble cause, but individuals under the age of 18 could not join the army, unless they wanted to be a drummer or bugler….” “…. Like so many other young men during this time, Johnny Drum attempted to join a regiment in his home state, but was turned down because of his age. Eventually, Johnny ran away from home and found a regiment to take him in and allow him to serve as a drummer boy. Upon completion of his duty and the end of the Civil War legend has it that Johnny returned home to settle down amongst the rolling bluegrass knobs of his native Kentucky where he staked his claim among a beautiful spring. Like so many other pioneer farmers that had been granted “corn writes” in the Kentucky Territory, Jonny soon learned the importance of finding a way to convert his excess crop into something profitable, rather than allowing it to go to waste. Johnny had a penchant for giving his all regardless of cost, and it wasn’t long before Johnny’s determination produced an exceptional bourbon whiskey that earned him a reputation for making the finest sippin’ whiskey in all of the Territory. “
The Johnny Drum Private Stock is a tribute to the passion of Johnny Drum, made according a time honored recipe for what is, according to the distiller the finest sippin’ whiskey in the Territory.
So back to the dram itself. The dram on hand is an old style Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, charcoal filtered and bottled at 101 proof. It comes in a simple bottle, with an old style label. It’s a nice dark colored dram with a slightly red glow; you could say it’s a warm dark tint of amber. The glass I used is a Libbey tasting glass.
Nose: Quite obviously vanilla accompanied by some earthy, buttery tones. Caramel candy tones coming through. Not very hefty on the nose, quite soft and takes it’s time to open up. With some water added some fruity smells appear, somehow it makes me think about some mixed sundried fruit. Some citrusy tones manifest themselves also.
Taste:Some bittersweet, but also nutty flavours. In the background it taste a little bit burnt, might be the charcoal filtration. With water richer, some raisins as it have been (lightly) sherry-finished. Nutty nougat taste is coming out. Needs it’s time to open up. Warming on a cold winter eve!
Finish:Quite short alcoholic finish. Clear oak tones, a little dry and nutty. Some bitterness showing. With water easier, but more wood comes out, finish stays short. Some charcoal is getting through the back of your throat into your nose (bbq: cooling down of the used coal). Worst part of the dram, not really unpleasant, but the nose and taste promised more.
Balance: Overall not bad, the nuttiness and vanilla is quite nice. The finish is quite heavy on the alcohol; it’s quite difficult to keep a sip in your mouth for some time without the alcohol forces you to swallow it quickly. With water the balance is somewhat better, but in my opinion the dram should be bottled at a lower alcohol percentage.
Conclusion:Well, the different points giving over different tasting sessions vary a little, but it scores in total always around 75 points. I’m not sure that this is my kind of dram, but as my taste is still developing I keep tasting this bourbon and might alter the scores in the future. Price of this bourbon around 30 euros.