The View From the Bottom

Dog and cat looking upLife on the bottom is complicated at best.  It is full of misconceptions and stereotypes.  For example fighting like cats and dogs.  I don’t know about you but these two look pretty harmonious, and I have three dogs and five cats, and they all seem to get along pretty well most of the time.  Of course they have their spats but show me 8 unrelated room mates that don’t have their disagreements.  It is this way for the bottom shelf bourbons and whiskeys.  They are a mixed family where there is good, better and crazy cousin Johnny that we try to keep locked in the basement.  Problem is when Johnny gets out he gives everyone else a bad name.  So tonight I had a good lower shelf bourbon that is thought of as a lesser quality product but deserves a place on your shelf…

old crow (2)Old Crow is a much maligned bourbon by some, but it has some fun qualities that I like and I think many people will if given a chance.  See Old Crow is often used in movie sets for people who are down and out, or passed out in a stupor.  Another strike against it is its price and three year aging.  At $7 for a fifth, one might be inclined to think it can’t be any good at the price, so it is relegated to poor people and connoisseurs.  Those that aren’t daunted by the misconceptions and bad image.  Like I said there are gems in the weeds of the bottom shelf, and I’m here to tell you Old Crow is good bourbon.

The nose on Old Crow is pleasant, dominated by sweet corn and alcohol.  At 80 proof or 40% ABV the alcohol is a treat, and helps the finish.  When it hits the palate it is sweet like candy corn and pears, then disapates into a burn that lasts about 30 seconds.  The grain flavors and distillate dominate the experience, with very little oak or barrel char, due to the limited aging.


This is a good neat whiskey.  It has good up front flavor and surprisingly good mouth feel for a 3 year $7 bourbon.  It finishes with a mild burn, but more than might be expected for an 80 proof whiskey.

On the Rocks

With cooling the burn is extinguished and just the sweet bourbon flavor remains.

With a Splash

One thing missing from many bottom shelf bourbons is structure.  That typically comes with aging.  With little structure there is little hope that the whiskey will hold up to water.  Water kills this stuff.

This would be a great whiskey for things like slushes, ice cream recipes, or bourbon balls.  There is little barrel char or woody flavors that come with aging and can be a distasteful flavor when making sweet treats. It is also a good pour for a limited budget or when you just want a change of pace.  I will buy this whiskey again, and for $7 bucks for a fifth you should too.


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Categories: Whiskey

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2 Comments on “The View From the Bottom”

  1. Jim
    October 15, 2009 at 9:33 pm #

    I just have to point out that, judging by the picture, Don enjoyed Old Crow in a Motel 8, which is quite fitting!

    • Don
      October 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

      I’ll have you know that these are the most luxurious accommodations in Grangeville, ID, And I was lucky to have them! I actually got a room that had a pull out couch, cushy chair with ottoman, King Size Bed, fireplace, and a flat panel HDTV without the HD Digital Signal subscription! Pretty high end! All for the luxury price of $94 a day!

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