My wife and I were sitting in a bar in Louisville. We’d been there once before, earlier in the week. On that earlier visit, we’d been made to feel so welcome and appreciated that we’d decided to stop back in on our last day in town to give the place a little more business.
Behind the bar was the same welcoming person we’d met earlier in the week. We chatted with him for quite a while. He was a fairly young man, not from Louisville originally, but loving living so close to the center of all things bourbon. While we chatted, he decided to perfect his bourbon sour recipe. There were very few people in the place, it being mid-afternoon, so as he tried different variations he would pour a little in a glass for us to taste in order to get another set of opinions. We obligingly told him which ones we liked, which we didn’t and why.
That was my first experience with Johnny Drum. The bartender chose it because he didn’t care for it and was looking for something else to do with it that he could recommend. Because he was so emphatic about not liking it, I didn’t question him on it. Knowing there were plenty of bourbons out there, I decided to take the advice and pass it by.
Recently I was doing my yearly late-winter tour of liquor stores looking for inexpensive bourbon when I happened to notice a small green-labeled bottle of Johnny Drum. It was only 80 proof but I decided that, since it less than $20, the time had come to see if that bartender was correct in his judgement of the product or not.
Johnny Drum Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 80 proof
Purchase Info: $15.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Blue Max, Burnsville, MN
Details: 40% ABV
Nose: Tart Apples, caramel and oak
Mouth: Sweet and gentle with just a slight tingle. Caramel/vanilla, wet rock and a good hit of oak.
Finish: Short and gentle as befits its proof with lingering sweetness and oak.
Thoughts: Contrary to what I was told, this is not terrible. That doesn’t mean it is particularly good, but I’m now more than willing to pick up a bottle of it’s higher proof sibling.
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