Johnny Drum Private Stock Review


Johnny Drum Private Stock offers an enjoyable bourbon experience at an accessible price point, boasting an expansive flavor profile without breaking the bank. Although not spectacularly different than many competitors in its price range, Johnny Drum Private Stock stands out by being more robust.

At first, there’s the delicious sweetness of caramel and vanilla that fills your senses like an intense warmth that embraces your tongue. Soon after that come bursts of tobacco and leather for some not-so-subtle spice.


Johnny Drum was a drummer boy for the Confederacy during the Civil War and, after it ended, returned home to Kentucky, where he started distilling bourbon whiskey to use up any excess corn crops that remained. It proved immensely successful – now part of Willett’s family heritage and often touted by critics and whiskey experts, its namesake brand is widely consumed throughout Kentucky and widely recognized. Charcoal filters add an unusual feature.

The color of this beautiful russet antique amber bourbon darkens slightly with age. Ethanol dominates on the nose while subtle tobacco and caramel aromas come through. The finish is bold yet smooth, offering a wide variety of flavor notes balanced perfectly, making this an excellent value in this highly competitive market.

Even at high proof, this bourbon is very approachable and makes for an excellent introduction or change in flavor for newcomers or those seeking something different. With familiar fruit and brown sugar flavors, most everyone would recognize, although lacking in complexity, this remains an outstanding value bourbon at this price point.

Aromas include spicy cinnamon and ginger as well as toasted oak and caramel notes, with the palate being richer than balanced with orange marmalade, toasted biscuits, caramel flavors balanced by wine tannins, and subtle char. We suggest adding water when enjoying this whiskey as this will open it up and bring more sweetness out in its finish, with cinnamon notes and citrus fruitiness lingering pleasantly long into its medium-length finish. It was awarded Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition as one of the “best hidden gem whiskeys on the market”. Drink Spirits named this hidden gem one of the “best-hidden gem whiskeys on the market.”


Willett’s lesser-known bourbon, Johnny Drum Private Stock, is often disregarded in the whiskey community. Yet this affordable option offers an intriguing flavor profile at under $50 price point – perfect for those seeking a well-rounded beverage! This 15-year-old version no longer exists but makes an excellent option as an all-purpose choice.

Ethanol is prominent on the nose of this bourbon. There are some fruity aromas and cinnamon spice notes. Vanilla and caramel flavors also come through, as are vanilla beans and caramel bits. Vanilla and caramel round out this unique bourbon, while its palate shows more nuttiness than its nose would lead you to expect; plus, its profile contains strong notes of rye compared to any others on our list.

Johnny Drum served on the Confederate side during the Civil War. Following this, he purchased a farm and established himself near an attractive limestone spring. However, upon harvesting his corn crop, there was too much surplus for sale alone, so instead, he started distilling excess into bourbon for himself and selling what remained to friends and family.

This bourbon is charcoal-filtered and proofed at 101, giving it some heat. Though more intense than balanced, given the proof and source (Johnny Drum Distilling Company), this one deserves serious consideration amongst its peers at this price point. Furthermore, this bottle won a gold medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, so give this bourbon a try today!


Johnny Drum Private Stock from Willett Distillery is one of the distillery’s lesser-known gems, as its oldest and highest-proof small batch line. Now non-age stated, but previously age-said versions lasted fifteen or so years ago! Achieved Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for intense fruit flavors, brown sugar sweetness, and spice notes; an exceptional value indeed.

Like its price-range peers, this bourbon may not be perfect, yet it stands out with its robust flavor profile and intensity. Proofed at 101 proof, its depth of power makes up for any deficits it might lack in terms of balance.

The nose is highly aromatic with solid notes of ethanol and tobacco. Nuances of caramel and tobacco also show up. On the palate, fruit, vanilla bean, and sweet caramel meld into layers that fill your senses with notable intensity; finishing off this exquisite wine is a hint of smoky brown sugar for a beautiful finish.

This easy-drinking bourbon is not overly complex; rather it makes for an enjoyable drinking experience. Not too hot and lacking much in terms of aftertaste, this spirit works beautifully on its own or with water added, opening up aromas and flavors for you to explore further. Furthermore, its charcoal filter makes it unique among its peers! Johnny Drum Private Stock should be on everyone’s must-try list who appreciates bold yet approachable whiskeys. You can sit back and enjoy without worrying about its alcohol content or how it will impact your mood. Plus, its story is equally fascinating; Johnny Drum served on the Confederate side during the Civil War before returning home to Kentucky, where he staked his claim near a crystal spring and began distilling excess corn crops into whiskey.


Johnny Drum Private Stock may not be an ideal bourbon by any stretch, but its robust flavor profile for the price makes it a worthy selection for those seeking something different in the sub-50 dollar range. Its intense fruit and brown sugar flavors help mitigate against its high levels of ethanol.

This bourbon’s nose suggests sour apple pie, while its palate features more floral sweetness. As this higher-proof bourbon measures 101 proof, its intensity may exceed most other offerings in this price range, and its ethanol profile dominates any possible notes of tobacco or caramel that may exist on its nose.

On the palate are notes of vanilla, bourbon, and sweet caramel, making this an irresistibly flavorful bourbon that can be enjoyed both straight or with water to open up its flavors and aromas. At such an incredible value for a price point, it’s hard to find anything better.

Willett distillery’s flagship bourbon, Willett 14-Year Aged Bourbon, is an under-appreciated treasure in their range, as one of its few 15-year-aged products still boasts 15-year age statements! Although you might find this bourbon hard to come across on store shelves. But do give it a try, as this genuinely stunning spirit is worth your while.

John Henry Drum was a Confederate drummer boy during the American Civil War and returned home afterward to Kentucky, purchasing a farm and taking advantage of its gorgeous limestone spring for distilling excess corn crops into bourbon whiskey – which ultimately resulted in this delightful beverage, which we highly recommend tasting!