At the time, Old Crow also had a reserve clearance that was only offered for about four years. When National re-launched Old Crow after Prohibition, the brand’s imagery was given a major overhaul by turning Crow into a cartoon character. Dressed in a fashionable top hat and tailcoat, monocle, leggings and walking stick, it reflected the brand’s attempt to upgrade the brand. They mimicked their formidable Scottish competitor, Johnnie Walker, who sold 200,000 cases in the United States in 1937 and was the top-selling whiskey brand in the world. From 1907 John Walker was played as Johnnie Walker, the man of the reign, also with a top hat, cane and monocle. The two leading whiskey brands represented two culturally different personifications of their founders to create memorable and enjoyable symbols for their whiskeys.

It is an 80 percent variety that is sophisticated malt distilled from barley, corn and rye, which gives the overall selection a deep, rich and robust flavor profile. But during the 1940s and 1950s, Old Crow began to bottom out because it went into a sour mash production process and many consumers at the time didn’t like the taste of sour mash. Drinkers began to turn to other brands like Stitzel / Weller, which Old Fitzgerald produced and others. Gaines, Berry & Company was founded in 1866 with the intention of making and selling whiskey. After the company was founded, they sent their business partner Edmund Taylor Jr. to Europe to study best distillation practices. Crow’s affinity for values seems to have brought the parties together: There was an unfounded but plausible rumor that Gaines, Berry & Company’s first acquisition in 1866.

A Look At The Company: Old Crow Bourbon

James C. Crow, a Scottish immigrant to the United States, opened his own distillery in Frankfurt, Kentucky in the 1830s. He was the first to use the “sour pulp” process, to create a fermented mash for distillation, which used the yeast from the previous batch to start the fermentation of the next batch. This ensured that the same family of yeasts was used for every drop of liqueur, which in theory should improve the taste and consistency of the product.

The James Crow Chronicles: Part 9 (Old Crow Brand) – The Whiskey Wash

The James Crow Chronicles: Part 9 (Old Crow Brand).

Posted: Thu, 17 Dec 2020 08:00:00 GMT [source]

Old Crow continued its decline in sales, as did the entire bourbon segment. During the 1974 recession, National lowered the test to 80P / 40% ABV and maturation to 4 to 5 years to save money and bring the price down. It was a race to the bottom when Old Crow sales plummeted to 600,000 boxes in April 1987 and dropped to 520,000 by the end of the year. National decided to withdraw from the whiskey business and sold its whiskey brands to James B Beam, a subsidiary of American Brands. Old Crow’s production was relocated to Beam’s Clermont Distillery, where it was made for the Beam mash bill. In 2015, Beam introduced its first line extension in decades, Old Crow Reserve, 4-year 43% vol bourbon.

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Once whiskey production and sales recovered after Prohibition and the Great Depression; The United States entered World War II in December 1942. It severely limited the supply of whiskey and nearly eliminated production between October 1943 and June 1945 when distilleries of the war effort connected industrial alcohols to plastics from ammunition. The first recorded mention of Crow whiskey outside the distillery was an order from a Memphis dealer in 1865, ten years after Crow’s death.

This led to many copyright infringements as wholesalers who lost distribution rights or others who wanted to capitalize on the brand’s reputation copied the replacement whiskey or tried to pass it off as the Old Crow. By 1900, W A Gaines & Company had published more than 1,800 trademark infringement notices. After the distillation process is complete, the bourbon is aged for no less than 3 years in new charred oak barrels to give it enough time to develop a deep, rich taste. Because this bourbon is marketed as “straight bourbon,” it is subject to strict regulations and controls regarding the processes that must be used in order to be classified as such. Overall, this bourbon is very smooth and easy to drink, which is why many people like to drink this selection compared to other popular brands on the market.

Mob Reviews

The reputation of the Crow whiskey replaced its place of manufacture and the larger whiskey brand Oscar Pepper. The dealer network that bought Crow’s small whiskey allotment suggested moving it to better bars and grocery stores. Gaines, Berry, and Taylor saw the growing recognition and value of the Crow name in Kentucky and Tennessee when they leased the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery in early 1867. It also served to differentiate it from Pepper Whiskey, Oscar Pepper Whiskey, and O O P Whiskey, which is sold by the distillery. As the bourbon industry slowed, National Distillers sold their remaining stakes in the liquor industry, including the Old Crow brand and the distillery. In 1987 the Jim Beam Distilling Company bought the Old Crow Distillery and the label and immediately stopped distilling there.

Old Crow Bourbon Review

“After the war, whiskey production resumed and Old Crow became one of the best-selling Bourbons in the world. In the 1960s, with sales still booming, production capacity at the Old Crow plant increased significantly. According to a former National Distillers employee who was the last Master Distiller at Crow before Jim Beam acquired it in 1987, it was during this expansion that the original formula was accidentally changed. The error in the percentage of the backset on the new mash was returned. This is ironic because conditioning the backset with the new mash is the essence of the new mash.

Kentucky Old Crow Straight Bourbon Whiskey

He spent most of his career as a pepper distiller and only worked for a few months in other distilleries. Crow changed the way bourbon was made by applying scientific principles to the process: keeping an eye on pH, specific gravity, and temperature. More importantly, he wrote his research to find out what made the best whiskey.

The James Crow Chronicles: Part 8 (Old Crow Distillery) – The Whiskey Wash

The James Crow Chronicles: Part 8 (Old Crow Distillery).

Posted: Thu, 10 Dec 2020 08:00:00 GMT [source]

He didn’t invent the sour mash process, but he understood it and how to best use it. His whiskey came to be known as the “Old Crow” and became the bourbon by which all other bourbons were judged. To entertain other politicians and “lubricate the wheels of government”. The mark remained in the hands of Oscar Pfeffer after Crow’s death in 1856. Crow had trained me for a distiller who went on to do so with his method, but since Crow had kept a ledger with his notes, other people kept the method in Could keep use. James C. Crow, a Scottish immigrant, began distilling what would be Old Crow in Frankfort, Kentucky, in the 1830s.

Old Crow Bourbon Review

The parent company National Distillers was sold to Jim Beam in 1987. The recipe and the Old Crow distillery were abandoned and the product was made into a three year old bourbon based on Jim Beam’s Mashbill. In 2013, the Glenns Creek Distillery began operations in part of the former Old Crow Distillery. The current Old Crow product uses the same mash and yeast peak as Jim Beam but is aged for a shorter period of time.

  • If you’ve ever opened a bottle of bourbon, you’ll understand the subtle intricacies that add aroma and flavor to the mixture.
  • This bourbon is carefully distilled and made and offers a very smooth and distinctive taste that you will not find in any other bourbon selection on the market.
  • According to a former National Distillers employee who was the last Master Distiller at Crow before Jim Beam acquired it in 1987, it was during this expansion that the original formula was accidentally changed.
  • President Ulysses S. Grant’s favorite bourbon, and once the best-selling bourbon in the United States, until poor production methods turned old crows into other brands in the mid-19th century.
  • By 1974 the entire segment collapsed and all distilleries were withdrawn, both damaging their bottom line and tarnishing the position of the bourbon segment.

Best to think of this whiskey as an inferior version of Jim Beam. The two spirits are made in the same place and start with the exact same grain bill, but the Jim Beam branded product gets some care and attention rather than the way Old Crow is treated. These production problems could not have occurred at a worse time. Bourbon and vintage whiskeys in general hit a cliff in the 1970s and 1980s when baby boomer tastes shifted towards clear, non-aging products. When Jim Beam bought the brand in 1987, they closed the facility and began bottling Old Crow with kegs filled with the same mash note as the other products in Jim Beam’s portfolio. If you’ve ever opened a bottle of bourbon, you’ll understand the subtle intricacies that add aroma and flavor to the mixture.

I like Jack right now, but I do had friends order a cola and Jack and it returned immediately when feeling, after just one sip, that a ray of light type of drink had been used instead of Jack. Then it disappeared from the bars and liquor departments of Wisconsin, leading me to believe that Old Forester had gone bankrupt. It is a sad irony that, once the highest quality sour mash bourbon in the 19th century, the best-selling bourbon brand in the mid 20th century, Old Crow descended out of favor as cheap whiskey from low range in the 21st century.

Old Crow Bourbon Review

This bourbon has a very distinctive taste and flavor profile like no other on the market today; It has notes of rich cocoa and honey, which give the bourbon a pleasant, sensual aroma and a mild taste. In the next section, we offer you an in-depth review and analysis of the various tasting notes that are part of this bourbon option. Be sure to read this section in full to ensure that you are purchasing a bottle of whiskey that meets your specific tastes and interests. In this guide, we’re going to cover all of the key facts you need to know about the general flavor profile and prevailing tastes that you will experience when you open a bottle of bourbon. First, let’s take a quick look at the history of the Old Crow bourbon brand so you understand a little more about why this drink is so popular. One of the leading affordable bourbon brands right now is Old Crow; Old Crow is a lower shelf bourbon option that began in the 19th century.

Named after Dr. James C. Crow, a Scottish physician and chemist who immigrated to the United States in the 1820s and worked for Oscar Pepper in Woodford County, Kentucky, in 1838. They also barrel matured their bourbon at a time that wasn’t the norm. And he cleaned his mash tuns and detergents properly and carefully and scientifically looked after the recipe. All of this gave the early Old Crow an admirable level of quality and consistency that she loved. I’ve always taken a pass to Old Crow because Early Times used to be cheaper, more available, and more accessible. I thought almost anything would be good enough for a “wet” Manhattan or an old fashioned.

Old Crow Bourbon Review

Sales of almost all brands of bourbon declined in the 1970s and 1980s, but none were worse than Old Crow. For much of the time between Prohibition and the fall of Old Crow, Jim Beam was the brand’s main competitor for the best-selling bourbon booth. As a final irony, the Old Crow whiskey available in stores today is Jim Beam.

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