The James Crow Chronicles

Old Crow is said to have been the favorite bourbon of American writer Mark Twain. Twain reportedly visited the distillery in the 1880s, and Old Crow advertised this heavily.

One of the most significant contributors to America’s whiskey industry was the Scotsman, James Crow. Trade journals in the 19th century described Crow’s approach to making whiskey as ‘novel’; in other words, a new method. While he did not invent new processes, his disciplined and scientific approaches replaced the traditional and rustic methods, bestowing him recognition as one of America’s most influential whiskey distillers.

More than a decade after his death, the Old Crow sour mash whiskey brand was trademarked, and successive distillers faithfully replicated mash whiskey to the same high-quality standards as Crow trained them. A century later, it became America’s bestselling whiskey and the first bourbon whiskey brand to exceed sales of a million cases per annum.

The James Crow Chronicles investigate Crow’s life and examines the state of whiskey production and knowledge in Scotland and Kentucky in the 1820s (Parts 1 & 2). Transcripts and other primary archival sources provide enough records to reconstruct Crow’s production methods by the mid-1850s (Parts 3 & 4) and the conditions of whiskey distilling in Woodford County where the Oscar Pepper distillery was situated, where Crow did his work (Part 5)… read more >

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