Review: Old Crow Bourbon

Get ten bucks to put toward a bottle of whiskey — or perhaps a whole liter of the stuff? Why, Old Crow’s been dominating the bottom shelf for nearly two centuries since Dr. James Crow introduced the world to his medicine, and it doesn’t look like the price has shifted more than a few nickels since.

An Old Crow Reserve arrived in the early days of Drinkhacker, not something that was overly impressive, but certainly a reasonable investment at 12 dollars and probably something I’d be a little less harsh on today. The original Old Crow, to which we finally turn our belated attention, will cost you a ten-spot, offering a 3 year old straight Kentucky bourbon at 40% abv.

And hey, I talked trash back in 2010, but today’s Old Crow (I’m reviewing a bottle picked up this year, not in the ’70s) is definitely not undrinkable — with plenty of worse options on the bottom shelf. The nose is negligible but inoffensive, offering a classic mix of peanut and popcorn that lingers in the distance. I don’t get any off notes that might be expected from such an inexpensive product; no hospital or chemical qualities to speak of — although a maple note that emerges with time in glass comes across as a bit artificial.

The palate is innocuous, as well — heavier on peanut and caramel notes. Butterscotch and lots of vanilla here, though as with the Old Crow Reserve expression, things seem a little overblown again. Cracker Jack is too mild. This one’s sweeter, more of a syrupy Fiddle Faddle. There’s not much overt wood influence to speak of throughout, the whiskey keeping its foot down on sweeter notes — heavy on the sweet corn, with a bit of caramel apple in the mix.

Said sweetness is lingering, well into the finish, which is effective at masking any rough edges, for better or worse. It’s a decidedly basic experience that isn’t the most interesting on its own, but which would probably work fine in a bourbon punch. In which case, you can always pick it up in a 1.75 liter plastic handle to save another buck or two.

80 proof.

C+ / $10

Old Crow Bourbon





  1. Cangey on July 1, 2023 at 10:52 am

    I miss Old Crow Reserve and yes you were a bit harsh-tsk tsk.

    • Christopher Null on July 1, 2023 at 8:01 pm

      Great to see a comment from you again, Cangey!

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