​Whiskey Nips: Dr. James C. Crow

Many of you may have heard of Old Crow bourbon whiskey, but may not know much about the man for which that bourbon was namedafter, Dr. James C. Crow. Dr. Crow played a very important role in the history of bourbon when he moved to Kentucky and began experimenting with the sour mash process.A chemist from Scotland, he put his degree to use, and helped to develop the sour mash process that we know today.

It has not been proven that he is the creator of the sour mash process, but without him, we probably would not be enjoying the whiskey in our glasses today. What has been proven about Dr. Crow, is that he brought science to whiskey, and perfected the sour mash process. Dr. Crow experimented with PH levels which helped cut down the risk of contamination of batches. He also analyzed and understood the characteristics of limestone water, and why it was important to use in the making of quality whiskey.

Dr. Crow’s whiskey soon became well known for its quality, and distillers began copying his processes. This helped them to improve their product to provide a better whiskey for the consumers and laid the foundation for whiskey making as it is today. There is no question that Dr. Crow played a huge role in the development of whiskey.I think it is a shame that the Old Crow bourbon whiskey of today is considered a low-quality product, when in fact, Dr. Crow brought quality to whiskey.


Tony Freund