Bourbon Reviews

Old Crow


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Nah ya’ll best be lihstnin’ right’n proper, ‘cuh I ain’t ‘bout tuh be sayin’ dis nahn tahms over. Okay so I’m no Stephen King when it comes to transferring American accents into written form, but who gives a darn. Anyway, what I won’t be saying over and over again is this (which just happens to be the perfect way to drink Old Crow): buy a copy of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower (the whole series), grab yourself a glass – ‘n ya’ll better not make it too fancy, either – and a bottle of Old Crow, pour the latter into the former and proceed to slap a Kris Kristofferson CD in your player, then sit yourself down in the most comfortable seat you have. Let Kris do his thing, take a deep sip from your glass then throw it into the wall and start drinking straight from the bottle, you’ll never be more ready to immerse yourself into the fantastic story telling of Mr. King.

Back to the past: the story starts with James Crow – a Scotsman who fled our wet hills, presumably to live a life without the constant need for a raincoat (the weather has been awful around here these past few days – I’m not bitter…). A skilled distiller, he came to practice his trade for various employers and the result was sold under the name ‘Crow’ or ‘Old Crow’; a brand which belonged to no particular distiller until 1915, when Gaines won a dispute over its ownership. Its claim to fame comes from it being one of Kentucky’s first bourbons, and in fact being the first sour mash whiskey.

Swiftly returning to present day, it should be mentioned that Old Crow is an exceedingly cheap whiskey. So far as I know, a 25oz bottle will set you back around $6 in the US, which obviously means it not exactly top shelf stuff. Unfortunately, once it hits UK shelves you will have to pay rather more – about £20 (roughly $30 and hence a hefty 5 times as expensive), which makes it more expensive than a 24oz bottle of Rittenhouse, while only being a couple of quid cheaper than a bottle of Elijah Craig 12.

The nose is fairly straight-forward with corn, caramel, straw and some alcohol. On the palate it doesn’t necessarily get much more exciting, there’s some biscuit in there along with some peppery spice, caramel, very ripe apple and a slightly earthy quality. The palate is better than the nose, but far from being one of my top bourbons. But, if I could pick a bottle up for $6 rather than £20, I would probably make darn sure to keep one at home at all times. It’s cheap bourbon, and so far as cheap bourbon goes I think it ticks all the boxes. It’s the sort of thing I’d love to drink during a poker game in a rundown Kentucky bar.

Color: Rusty metal.

Nose: Corn, caramel, straw, alcohol.

Taste: Biscuit, caramel, very ripe apple, earthy, peppery spice.

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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  1. Michael D

    November 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Still a personal favorite of mine!

  2. Jeffro

    December 1, 2012 at 5:59 am

    Nothing wrong with old crow, actually, I think it is better than Jack Daniels, which is overrated. No, its not a single malt Scotch. But, it is the real deal throw back to old america whiskey. By the way, it’s not 6 dollars, more like 12 to 18 depending on where you live…. 6 dollars? God, what year are you living in.

    • afileclerk

      April 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      I have always found it at 6.75 so you must be getting ripped off somewhere.

    • mec

      January 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      2014 USA price is now about 14 dollars for a “fifth”. Still cheap whiskey and about half 12 year old Craig. I agree with you that Jack D*. is overrated (over, over rated in fact.). and that Old Crow is really pretty good.
      * Your basic Jack Daniels and Jim Beam are about all you can get in our regional and International air terminals.They are Not Good but they are the only thing that makes flying almost bearable. Fortunately, both JD and Beam have small batch products that are head and shoulders above the basic stuff.

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