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Bottom Shelf Bourbon Brackets 2015, Round 1: JW Dant Bottled in Bond vs Old Crow

Posted on by Eric Burke

Round 1c of the 2015 Bottom Shelf Bourbon Brackets features Number 1 seed, and last year’s winner JW Dant Bottled in bond versus Number 4 seed Old Crow. 

JW Dant Bottled in Bond is a product of Heaven Hill Brands. It was initially chosen as a part of last year’s competition where it eked out a split decision victory over Sazerac’s Old Charter (8 year old). This year it is back to defend it’s crown against new competition. Can it become a two time winner?

Old Crow is a product of BeamSuntory and, like it’s Beam stable-mate Old Grand-Dad, was once a label produced by National Distillers. Unlike Old Grand-Dad, Old Crow was converted over to the standard Beam recipe and has languished there ever since. It normally lives a full and uneventful life as many a bar’s well whiskey, being mixed into drinks that no one cares enough about to specify a brand or being shot by frat boys who are “tougher” than those who just want Fireball.

These were tasted blind in the following order.

JW Dant Bottled in Bond

Purchase Info: Blue Max Liquors, Burnsville, MN. $15.99 for a 1 liter bottle

Stated Age: NAS (Assumed 4+ years)

ABV: 50%

Produced by: Heaven Hill

Nose: Fruity, cinnamon and cocoa powder to start. Followed by a strong caramel candy note.

Mouth: Sweet and hot with caramel, cocoa and sharp oak tannins..

Finish: Warm and sweet with nice length and lingering oak.

Thoughts: The nose on this one is fabulous. The rest was fine, but a bit of a let down after the show the nose put on for us.

Old Crow

Purchase Info: Blue Max Liquors, Burnsville, MN. $10.94 for a 1 liter bottle

Stated Age: Aged “for a full 3 years”

ABV: 40%

Produced by: Jim Beam

Nose: Initially: barn. After that passed, grain, mint and baking spices. 

Mouth: Silage, baking spices and a hint of mint. But mostly silage. 

Finish: Mild warmth, black pepper and more silage.

Thoughts: My first nose of the glass was: “Holy shit! That smells like a barn. Not an old barn, but one currently holding cattle.” Luckily it faded quickly. Water helps this one, but only because it dilutes the silage. You might want to stick to mixing this one…maybe on the rocks…nah, skip the intermediary and just dump it out. In the toilet. It really is too bad that Beam let this fall on such hard times. It might have been kinder to put it out of its misery.

Winner: JW Dant Bottled in Bond wins this one hands down. And not by default. It actually had things going for it as opposed to just being not-Old-Crow. The nose was fantastic. The rest was ok too. For Old Crow…yeah I have nothing nice to say. When it starts with barn and goes downhill? Yeah. just pass on this one. At just north of $10 per liter this is actually overpriced. When we revealed which was which neither of us were surprised to see which was Dant and which was Old Crow.


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