Johnny Drum Private Stock Bourbon

Here we have yet another sourced bourbon, this time from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (also known as Willett). Johnny Drum is sold in three expressions: an entry-level Green Label ($20), a Black Label with and without an age-statement (12 years), and this Private Stock bottling that lost its 15-year age statement in a rebrand years ago. The usual vague assurances on the Internet that it “still contains some old whisky” are not even backed up by the tried-and-true “a dude at the distillery told me” type of hearsay.

Mortlach Rare Old

Mortlach, one of those “only for blends and independents” distilleries that has graduated through sweat and perseverance (or marketing and PR) to official lineup status, is actually one of my favorite distilleries. … The Rare Old is a non-age statement bottling at an appropriate 43.4% ABV (Why not 43%? Who knows.) from a mixture of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks, the Rare Old shocked everyone with its initial price …

The Balvenie (12 year) Single Barrel “First Fill”

The “First Fill” on the label, of course, refers to the use of first-fill ex-bourbon casks (casks the previously aged bourbon but haven’t been used for anything else). These first-fill barrels have been used to age Balvenie malt for at least 12 years, and watered down a little bit to a reasonable 47.8% ABV. The whisky is not chill-filtered and has no added coloring (which is obvious by its pale straw appearance).

Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey

The Teeling Single Grain is a grain whiskey which means it is column distilled from a mash of multiple grains, often corn, rye, unmalted and/or malted barley, and wheat and made at a single Irish distillery. In this case, the mashbill was 95% corn and 5% barley and it was distilled at the Cooley distillery (now owned by Beam-Suntory). The whiskey is fully matured in Cabernet Sauvignon casks from Napa, California for “just under” 6 years (legally speaking, that means it is 5 years of age).

Highland Park Magnus

Like the rest of the line, Magnus is partly peated and partly aged in “sherry seasoned” American oak casks. Before you ask, that just means they took regular old ex-bourbon casks and sloshed some sherry around in them for a few months. This is becoming pretty standard practice in the scotch whisky industry, since nobody drinks actual sherry these days and real sherry barrels are hard to come by. Some refill casks are also used, but the distillery says the sherry-seasoned casks are a “high percentage” of the vatting. If you say so, Edrington. …

Koval Single Barrel Millet Whiskey

The Koval Millet whiskey is aged in 30-gallon new charred oak barrels (like bourbon distilleries, Koval sells all of its barrels after a single use). I was unable to find any information about the amount of time this whiskey spends in-barrel, so I would go ahead and assume it’s quite young. … Koval distillery in Chicago is an undeniable pioneer in this space, with various whiskies for sale distilled from millet, oats, spelt, wheat, and rye. All of Koval’s spirits are single-barrel releases, and all are made from organic grains farmed in the American Midwest.

GlenDronach (18 year) Allardice

The GlenDronach 18-year is named after the 1826 founder of the distillery, James Allardes. It is aged for 18 years exclusively in Spanish oloroso sherry casks, and bottled at 46% ABV without chill-filtration or added coloring. This has more deep, dark, concentrated dry fruit than I’ve ever experienced in a single malt. I’m not sure that’s actually a good thing. …

Paddy Irish Whiskey

Paddy, which claims to be the best-selling whiskey in Ireland, has only recently received wider distribution to the rest of the world … The whiskey itself, a “high-malt” blend of all three styles of Irish whiskey (malt whiskey, single pot still, and column grain whiskey) is triple-distilled, aged between 4 and 7 years, and bottled at 40% ABV.

Springbank (15 year)

I love Springbank. It’s one of my favorite distilleries. It’s also one of the very few distilleries left in Scotland that embodies the “old school”, tradition-laden whiskymaking techniques that marketing departments elsewhere salivate over. … This can backfire, though. Most of the technological improvements in the whisky industry over the past 100 years have been implemented for the sake of consistency in the resulting whisky. …