Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This Old Crow



It’s very easy when writing a story to call 'something' by its generic name and mostly leave it at that, but every student of creative writing knows the consistent use of the generic can become a bit lacklustre. So, in The Liberty & Property Legends, by the time whiskey had become less like an alcoholic beverage/pastime and more like a minor character/crutch for a broken heart – right around the time I was do the multitudinous rewrites of volume four The Hour of Evidence – said whiskey needed a name. I indulged in some research and found it one. Whiskey no longer wallowed in generic namelessness; it became the genuine sour mash Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey commonly known as 'Old Crow'.
I’m not a whiskey drinker, but as I understand from various quarters, Old Crow is very good. And whiskey needed to be so; needed to be a willing companion, easy to drink and smooth enough to slacken life’s jagged edges.

As I did, you should have a good time investigating Old Crow on these links:
Dr James Crow is the inspiration behind Old Crow and many consider him to be the true father of Bourbon. While earlier being a physician, Dr Crow brought his scientific approach to whiskey making and forged a famous career.’ - Dan Murphy’s
So you can imagine my dismay when I learned that the modern day Old Crow is not the same recipe as was pre-WW2, which is a pity as I was planning on trying it for myself. If I cannot drink what my characters drank then I don’t really see the point now. According to Wikipedia, the Old Crow recipe and distillery were not kept (Jim Bean now owns the modern Old Crow) and the sour mash recipe perfected by Scottish migrant Dr James Crow in the 1835 is no more.

The historian in me is both fascinated and saddened. Surely a whiskey recipe that gave the likes of Mark Twain, Buffalo Bill and Ulysses S. Grant so much satisfaction, a recipe with a scientifically developed sour mash which led the way in nineteenth century whiskey-making to become an icon of American culture, that Abraham Lincoln famously declared if Ulysses S. Grant drank Old Crow he wanted to send a barrel of it to all his generals, surely it could have stayed. One would think so.
So, if you drink Old Crow at any time, while it is said to be delightfully smooth, you are not drinking the same recipe as in the bottle that Luke gives to Cliff in The Hour of Evidence. That may not bother you as much as it does me.

Personally, I cannot in good conscience advocate imbibing alcohol to relieve your emotional pain, the proverbial drowning one’s sorrows, so let me make that disclaimer right here and now. But one of my babies is having a very bad day and knows it’s likely to be the first of many, and even the best of men have a weakness or two.

'He glances sidelong at the expensive glass of comfort. He pours that good sipping whiskey straight down his throat... refills the glass... downs half of it. The past is a battlefield where the present can’t win.'
from THE HOUR OF EVIDENCE: Deceived, The Liberty & Property Legends, Volume 4

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