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boss302
02-17-2008, 01:18
Just wondering if someone can answer this for me.

Why do so many bourbon names start with the word "Old"? Is it a nostalgia thing? Or what?

Old Charter...

Old Pogue...

Old Taylor...

Old Crow...

Old Grand-Dad...

Old Forester...

I'm pretty sure I've barely touched the tip of the iceberg here...

Jazzhead
02-17-2008, 02:15
My uneducated guess is that the use of "old" originally was meant simply to signify that this was aged whisky. I recall recently seeing a couple of photos of Nevada saloons from the turn of the century that made hay in their signage that they only served aged whiskeys. Old Forester and Old Crow were two of the earliest "national brands", bottled specifically for widespread distribution, and each probably used "old" to draw attention to the fact of their aging. And once a trend starts, it tends to snowball.

Today, of course, the appellation's meaningless - Old Crow is young stuff, although it used to be seven years old. I've never tasted the old Old Crow; but high on my bar I have one of those great ceramic Old Crow decanters, in top hat 'n tails, with an intact tax stamp. If any SBers are ever in the land of the house 'o Jazz, I'd love to crack that top hat and sample the stuff. Of course, being in a ceramic container, it's probably best that I let it be.

OscarV
02-17-2008, 05:55
I recall recently seeing a couple of photos of Nevada saloons from the turn of the century that made hay in their signage that they only served aged whiskeys. Old Forester and Old Crow were two of the earliest "national brands", bottled specifically for widespread distribution, and each probably used "old" to draw attention to the fact of their aging.

Today, of course, the appellation's meaningless - Old Crow is young stuff, although it used to be seven years old. .

I have always assumed the same. But I wonder what the typical age was back then before the Bottled In Bond act and whiskey's after, that were not BIB?

barturtle
02-17-2008, 08:07
The current labeling laws state that no misleading statements can be used on the labels. Also no symbols of the government. It was a while back, but I attended a talk by Fritz Maytag about Old Potrero, and he said something about the "Old" part of the name being a joke about the rules. Something about the rulings that have excluded young and new as terminology IIRC. This is not something I can find in the law, but may be something that has been ruled on on a case by case basis.

fogfrog
02-17-2008, 13:02
Its funny... maybe a longtime bourbon secret... the other week I was talking with a coworker about Evan Williams and I was surfing the web and found some of their advertising.... some of it has this old guy and young babes. Other has just 'really young' babes and 'more elegant older' ones... check it out:

http://www.evanwilliams.com/history_advertisements.shtml

so.... Older is better...

makes you wonder about Ancient Ancient Age though... I guess that people revere or respect old stuff. Give me that Old Time religion.... My wife still reveres old stuff like it was better back then.... not necessarily true, but for advertising sakes.......

fogfrog
02-17-2008, 13:03
Oh, I forget, the Ancient of Days is ... God... so .... of course older is better!

fogfrog
02-17-2008, 13:18
http://www.evanwilliams.com/images/ads/45.jpg

fogfrog
02-17-2008, 13:22
He was an old-time cowboy, don't you understand his eyes were sharp as razor blades his face was leather tan his toes were pointed inward from a-hangin' on a horse he was an old philosopher, of
He was so thin i swear you could have used him for a whip he had to drink a beer to keep his britches on his hips i knew i had to ask him about the mysteries of life he spit between his boots and he replied

"it's faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money"

He smiled and all his teeth were covered with tobacco stains he said, "it don't do men no good to pray for peace and rain. peace and rain is just a way to say prosperity, and buffalo chips is all it means to me."

I told him i was a poet, i was lookin' for the truth i do not care for horses, whiskey, women or the loot i said i was a writer, my soul was all on fire he looked at me an' he said, "you are a liar."
"it's faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money"

Well, i was disillusioned, if i say the least i grabbed him by the collar and i jerked him to his feet there was something cold and shiny layin' by my head so i started to believe the things he said

Well, my poet days are over and i'm back to being me as i enjoy the peace and comfort of reality if my boy ever asks me what it is that i have learned i think that i will readily affirm

"it's faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money" (repeat 2x)

cowdery
02-19-2008, 13:43
Remember first that branding, i.e., giving whiskeys names, didn't really get started until after the Civil War. Remember too that even then unaged whiskey was still pretty common. In fact, that's what it was called. "Common whiskey" meant whiskey that was innocent of oak.

The whiskey that was bottled and branded was almost always aged. The preface "Old" simply became popular and many brands adopted it. Perhaps it was originally intended to distinguish a maker's aged product from unaged whiskey by the same maker.

Then, when whiskey began its long decline in the late 60s, "Old" became the kiss of death. Almost every brand that did well (or, at least, not as badly as most) during that period was not prefaced by "Old," in particular Jack Daniel's, Jim Beam, Early Times, Evan Williams and Wild Turkey. In the industry, we referred to them as the "Olds" and regarded them as dead or dying.

You'll note that of the new brands created in the last 30 years or so, not a single one begins with "Old" except "Old Pogue," which I believe was a restoration of a brand name from the Pogue family's past.

jbaker
02-19-2008, 22:28
So here's one for ya. Can someone tell me the difference between Very Old Barton and just plain Barton's? Is the former a bourbon and the latter just American whiskey? Obviously, they both see oak (or caramel color) so it's not a common vs. aged product today. Are they made by the same company? Furthermore, was there one call Very Very Old Barton, or did I make that up?

cowdery
02-20-2008, 11:37
The only straight boubon that bears the Barton name is Very Old Barton. There is no Very Very Old Barton. There was a famous Old Fitzgerald expression called Very Very Old Fitzgerald, but I don't know of any other brand that has ever used the "Very Very" formulation. If you saw a whiskey that just said "Barton," without the "Very Old," that's a blend.

jbaker
02-20-2008, 11:56
Thanks Mr. Cowdery! I saw the plain ol' Barton in TN just recently, but didn't get a real chance to examine it very closely. And the "Very Very" that I was thinking of must have been the Old Fitz. I'm trying to keep it all straight in my head, but sometimes they get all mixed up.