Old Crow Bourbon is not what it used to be. In the early 19th century, James C. Crow came to Kentucky and started making whiskey at the Old Oscar Pepper Distillery. He was the first distiller to apply scientific methods to making whiskey and record his findings for future generations. His whiskey was sought after and demanded the highest prices. Henry Clay took barrels of Crow’s whiskey to Washington D.C. to grease the wheels of government. Old Crow became the whiskey that all good whiskey was judged by for quality. After Crow died, his whiskey brand and his notebooks were purchased by Gaines, Berry and Company who then built a new distillery to make the whiskey. Old Crow retained its reputation under Gaines, Berry and Company.
Prohibition saw the brand acquired by National Distillers, who made it one of their flagship brands, along with Old Taylor, Old Overholt and Mt. Vernon Rye. The brand remained well-respected and was one of the best-selling whiskeys in the United States. Its biggest competitor was Jim Beam White Label, so when National Distillers was sold to Jim Beam in the 1980s, the brand was cheapened by Beam to allow their brand to take its market share.
This bottle was bottled by National Distillers. The whiskey was made in the Spring 1968 and bottled in the fall of 1973, making it five and a half years old. It is a very good Bourbon and drinking this whiskey makes me sad for the brand of today.
Old Crow Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon
Age: 5 Years Old.
- Mike: Old leather, caramel, pears, baking spice, and oak wood.
- Matt: Nutmeg, leather, caramel, pears and oak.
- Mike: Caramel and apples with a little hazelnut – a candied apple in a glass. Tasted with a dried cranberry and there are spice notes of pepper and ginger. Tasted with a pecan and ripe apple and cinnamon comes forward.
- Matt: Caramel and apples with some nutmeg and fine leather. The dried cranberry brings out tart green apples, nutmeg and brown sugar. The pecan brings out notes of chocolate covered pretzel and oak.
- Mike: Sweet oak and baking spices- not dry, but reasonably long. With the dried cranberry and the finish is longer and a bit spicier with some ginger and pepper. The pecan makes the finish spicy with cinnamon and ginger.
- Matt: Spicy with sweet oak and lingering caramel. The dried cranberry brought out apple fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg leather and oak. The pecan brought out notes of chocolate, oak and smoked hickory wood.
I would pair this fine Bourbon with a Padron cigar that is rich in caramel and chocolate notes with some sweet cedar spice in the smoke. A Serie 1964 Maduro would be my first choice.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller