Johnny Drum is an obscure label that gets lost easily on any liquor store shelf. I passed by it numerous times until one day I picked up a bottle of it because I saw nothing else that interested me that day. In its heyday, a bottle of Johnny Drum carried a 15 year old age statement and by all accounts, still kinda sat on the shelves.
But these days, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (i.e. Willett) has dropped the age statement has reportedly started to use its own distillate to fill this bottle. I think a main issue with why this bottle doesn’t move too much is that it is priced and proofed at that magical price point, somewhere between $30 and $40, that it’s going to get passed over in favor of cheaper options at that same proof (Wild Turkey 101) or more expensive bottles that carry an age statement and a pedigree (Henry McKenna BiB).
Nose: A lovely scented nose of vanilla custard, red berries, caramel drizzled French toast, ripe apples, melted white chocolate. Despite the big wave of sweets, the nose is very botanical overall, making me think it has a high rye content.
Palate: A nice oily mouthfeel and some interesting flavors of almond meal, apple dumplings, cinnamon, cardamom and fresh oak wood swirl around. It’s pleasing and I can still detect rye notes here and there. It’s almost like a young, high-rye MGP bourbon mashbill.
Finish: Sweet mint, pine, baked apples, cinnamon and tobacco leaf all leave a pleasant aftertaste that is never bitter, but continues to remind me of a rye whiskey rather than a bourbon.