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Grandpa, Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days


Thomm

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Lately I've been reading as much as the internet can offer regarding Old Crow.  It pains me to think a once proud brand, highly regarded by many, has been relegated to bottom-shelf swill.

My only experience with Old Crow came in the early 1990s, and it had already reached Big Plastic Jug status.  In fact, the stuff was used as a form of punishment for various drinking games, wherein the loser was forced to drink a shot and follow it up with a hearty "CAW-CAW-CAW!" 

But enough about misspent youth.  My question is for the more "senior" members here.  Have any of you tried Old Crow in its glory days?  You know, before Gilligan tripped on a coconut and spilled the remaining yeast all over the Skipper's big blue shirt or Steve Urkel added too much backset to the mash and irretrievably ruined what was anecdotally one of the finest bourbons in America?  I'm kinda curious.  Was it just another decent 86 proofer, or was there something head and shoulders above the rest going on here?  More important; would a National Distillers Old Crow from the 60s be something to seek out at an auction if the price were right?  

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On 2/10/2024 at 9:57 PM, Thomm said:

Lately I've been reading as much as the internet can offer regarding Old Crow.  It pains me to think a once proud brand, highly regarded by many, has been relegated to bottom-shelf swill.

My only experience with Old Crow came in the early 1990s, and it had already reached Big Plastic Jug status.  In fact, the stuff was used as a form of punishment for various drinking games, wherein the loser was forced to drink a shot and follow it up with a hearty "CAW-CAW-CAW!" 

But enough about misspent youth.  My question is for the more "senior" members here.  Have any of you tried Old Crow in its glory days?  You know, before Gilligan tripped on a coconut and spilled the remaining yeast all over the Skipper's big blue shirt or Steve Urkel added too much backset to the mash and irretrievably ruined what was anecdotally one of the finest bourbons in America?  I'm kinda curious.  Was it just another decent 86 proofer, or was there something head and shoulders above the rest going on here?  More important; would a National Distillers Old Crow from the 60s be something to seek out at an auction if the price were right?  

I’ve had a few older Old Crows, those being National Distillers whiskey, or before Beam.  If the Big 3 bourbons that went to Beam (the others being Old Taylor and Old Grand Dad), Old Crow has the least wow factor from a taste perspective of them.  The old Old Taylor’s can be magnificent butterscotch bombs, and the old Old Grand Dads can be very special, too.  The older OCs are more pedestrian, but that may be because there were some production problems with backset percentages that may have negatively affected the whiskey.  But, I don’t think that’s what I experienced.  I’ve had more early 80s OC at 80 proof, than any other iteration.  For 80 proof, these are very good.  Just, not great.  Now, the few chances of BIB OC from earlier times were very heavy, caramel-laced, beauts.  Regardless, old Old Crow whiskey is worth trying, as it is Iconic to Bourbonia.  I dug a couple bottles out of the bunker to look at, because I haven’t looked at them in awhile.  Early 80’s 80 proof little one, and (late 50s ?) BIB.  The thing I dig about the BIB, is it’s cork stopper.  Now relegated to 1.75 plastic bottles, plastic caps, and with 3 year old whiskey, the BIB in glass with cork exudes it’s regalness…

 

There are a couple of Old Crow threads here in the SB archives, but a quick search gas this good one on its history.  

https://www.straightbourbon.com/community/topic/8188-us-grant-and-old-crow/

 

60E9CA60-1110-4253-A20A-09CB8481E81B.jpeg

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Thanks for your input, @smokinjoe.  I guess the pursuit of any Old Crow dusties should be done judiciously.  I shall stick to the occasional estate sale basement bar and abandon the idea of overpaying at auction.  From perusing OC merchandise on eBay, I understand that many years ago, Old Crow was offered in one gallon bottles.  THAT, I would love to see.

 

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Forgot I had these, despite it sitting on the shelf less than 1 foot from where the OC bottles I posted earlier, were…🤪

 

Im not much into decanter collecting, but I thought it was so cool, I couldn’t pass this one up!  

51919A7D-53A0-4AE3-B513-A20AB331B4A8.jpeg

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Up to his demise (in his sleep from natural causes - we should all be so lucky) in 1970, my Dad drank Old Crow 86 and Tab or Diet Coke or on ice almost exclusively.  I was old enough to drink distilled spirits legally starting in 1963 (depending on the jurisdiction).  Keeping in mind that, to me, back then brown whiskey was brown whiskey regardless of its label and proof, I did accept his offers, made once n a while, for me to join him if I so desired.  He was my Dad, and I always felt a little funny drinking in front of him.  I well remember those glass gallon jugs.  He'd buy them in WashDC on his way home from the office because they were a lot cheaper than the Virginia ABC store price.  My only recollection about the taste was - it was a lot BETTER than Canadian Club, Seagrams Seven, Chivas, Ballantines, Cutty Sark, or that scotch that came in the thick glass, dented bottles - all of which were also in the liquor cabinet but almost NEVER consumed.  Except for the VERY occasional small sip taken by me or my brother, of course.  Bourbon vs. whiskey vs, whisky?  Who knew they were different?

 

Years later, I did drink some OC in the 1980s and was surprised at how off-putting it was.  It was not what I remembered from those few nights drinking with my father.  A couple years ago as part of Virtual Blind Tasting, I did an OC 80.  Terrible stuff.

 

Based on memory and those experiences, I doubt I'd pay much for an unopened OC dating from pre-1970.  Certainly, I'd pass on any bottled after that date. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Harry in WashDC said:

... it was a lot BETTER than Canadian Club, Seagrams Seven, Chivas, Ballantines, Cutty Sark, or that scotch that came in the thick glass, dented bottles

Years later, I did drink some OC in the 1980s and was surprised at how off-putting it was.    Terrible stuff.

Based on memory and those experiences, I doubt I'd pay much for an unopened OC dating from pre-1970.  Certainly, I'd pass on any bottled after that date. 

 

First let me apologize for editing your post Harry.   For clarity and brevity only.

 

Could that scotch (highlited by me above) you mentioned be "Pinch"?

 

Agree totally about OC from after 1972.   I bought a bottle of 80-pr in that year (I think), and it was truly bad.    Comparing it with a sub-bottom-shelfer (Olde Bourbon) my Dad used as a 'daily drinker' it was several steps down.   I didn't think that was possible, until I found out for myself how bad the OC was... and/or what a bargain that Olde Bourbon (sold only in half-gallons, I think) turned out to be.

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Yup.  Pinch.  The bottle I remember had "three" sides with dimples.  Images of "Pinch" scotch include a 15 year blended that likely was what was in the cabinet.

 

THX.

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On 2/13/2024 at 5:40 PM, smokinjoe said:

I’ve had a few older Old Crows, those being National Distillers whiskey, or before Beam.  If the Big 3 bourbons that went to Beam (the others being Old Taylor and Old Grand Dad), Old Crow has the least wow factor from a taste perspective of them.  The old Old Taylor’s can be magnificent butterscotch bombs, and the old Old Grand Dads can be very special, too.  The older OCs are more pedestrian, but that may be because there were some production problems with backset percentages that may have negatively affected the whiskey.  But, I don’t think that’s what I experienced.  I’ve had more early 80s OC at 80 proof, than any other iteration.  For 80 proof, these are very good.  Just, not great.  Now, the few chances of BIB OC from earlier times were very heavy, caramel-laced, beauts.  Regardless, old Old Crow whiskey is worth trying, as it is Iconic to Bourbonia.  I dug a couple bottles out of the bunker to look at, because I haven’t looked at them in awhile.  Early 80’s 80 proof little one, and (late 50s ?) BIB.  The thing I dig about the BIB, is it’s cork stopper.  Now relegated to 1.75 plastic bottles, plastic caps, and with 3 year old whiskey, the BIB in glass with cork exudes it’s regalness…

 

There are a couple of Old Crow threads here in the SB archives, but a quick search gas this good one on its history.  

https://www.straightbourbon.com/community/topic/8188-us-grant-and-old-crow/

 

60E9CA60-1110-4253-A20A-09CB8481E81B.jpeg

Have you ever had Old Crow from a Chessman set? A very quick internet search says these are 1969. I've had it now from two different decanters and both times thought it was pretty incredible. Must be the lead!

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4 minutes ago, flahute said:

Have you ever had Old Crow from a Chessman set? A very quick internet search says these are 1969. I've had it now from two different decanters and both times thought it was pretty incredible. Must be the lead!

The Chessman OCs are indeed legendary!  I had a nip one night at the Gazebo, but it was so late, and after so many whiskies, it could have been whiskey from a Jenga! set…🤪

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3 hours ago, smokinjoe said:

The Chessman OCs are indeed legendary!  I had a nip one night at the Gazebo, but it was so late, and after so many whiskies, it could have been whiskey from a Jenga! set…🤪

@smokinjoe, was it @scratchline that had the chess piece(s) at the gazebo one time?

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On 2/14/2024 at 1:23 PM, smokinjoe said:

 

Im not much into decanter collecting, but I thought it was so cool, I couldn’t pass this one up!  

51919A7D-53A0-4AE3-B513-A20AB331B4A8.jpeg


That is a fantastic decanter!

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