Old Crow Whiskey, a fine Bourbon

Old Crow is a brand now owned by Jim Beam and is a 40% proof American Bourbon. It is recognised as a a quality whiskey, buta brand that is not heavily promoted by Jim Beam brands.

Old Crow Whiskey whilst not heavily promoted still has a strong following mainly in the US, but in other parts of the world.


In 1823, a physician called Dr. James Crow, moved to Kentucky because he was looking to start a new life because of bankruptcy.

Crow was beginning to get his new life in order when he went to work for Colonel Willis Field, a distiller on Grier's Creek near Woodford County.

Crow took his scientific and medical training to what had been a very haphazard business and the results were astounding. He was able to achieve a consistency of quality never before imagined, one which would give a distiller the ability to make production commitments that could actually be met.

Dr. Crow soon moved to the town of Millville on Glenn's Creek and for the next twenty years he was in charge of the Oscar Pepper Distillery (later to become Labrot & Graham) on McCracken Pike. Later he went to work for the Johnson Distillery a couple miles north on Glenn's Creek Road.

That distillery later became Old Taylor. He worked there until his death in 1856. Because of his development of methods that would ensure continuity and consistent quality (including the use of measuring devices and the knowledge of how the sour-mash process actually works) many consider Dr. James Crow to be the true father of Bourbon.

The man who became the new master distiller, William Mitchell, had worked directly with Crow and knew all his methods. His continuation of Old Crow whiskey was identical to the original. He in turn taught this to his own successor, Van Johnson.

Dr. Crow never actually owned a distillery, though. The enormous Old Crow distillery which sits on Glenn's Creek today was built around 1872, 16 years after he died.

Old Crow whiskey was made here, in essentially the exact same way, until Prohibition, and then again after Repeal.

National Distillers owned it then, but they had made no changes in the way the bourbon was made. Then, sometime during the 1960's, the plant was refurbished and formula was changed. The new version was different, and there was some public outcry, but National continued to use it until they were purchased by Jim Beam Brands in 1987.

Old Crow was also a top seller, competing with Jim Beam for #1 bourbon through most of the middle decades of this century. When bourbon sales started to tumble, Old Crow suffered more than most.

Jim Beam absorbed National Distillers, owner of Old Crow, in 1987 and immediately closed the distillery (they still use the warehouses).

The Old Crow you buy today is essentially the same whiskey as Jim Beam White Label, or maybe not even quite that good. Beam considers it a "bottom shelf" brand. They don't give it much support and they certainly don't put their best whiskey in the bottles.

Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2006

Young, sweet, oddly minty. Reasonably chewy and with ewcwnt bottlings improving deliciously on some flat offerings of a year or two back. Pretty impressive for a self declared 3 year old

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