Whatever happened to "Old ___ " bourbons?

Perusing some old magazine ads from the 1950s/1960s (don’t ask), I couldn’t help but notice that there used to be a plethora of bourbon brands named “Old” something-or-other. Examples include

Old Crow
Old Grand-Dad
Old Weller
Old Forester
Old Fitzgerald
Old Hickory
Old Taylor

Old Thompson (actually blended whiskey)
Old Charter

Maybe this is an unanswerable question, but what happened to all these brands? In bars nowadays I generally see Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Makers Mark, Knob Creek, Woodford, and maybe a couple of others. Mind you, I don’t look at the well bottles - are there any “Old” bourbons hiding out down there? Is this just a case of “out with the old, in with the new?” or is there a particular reason people don’t drink “Old” bourbons anymore?

I drank a fifth of Old Grand Dad on a St Patricks’ Day in college. So as of 2003 you could still buy it in a liquor store in WA.

Many of the Old French Bourbons got beheaded in the Revolution.

I know Old Crow and Old Granddad are still around, can’t say for sure about the others.

A good number of “Old __” brands are still around and listed here…some of it is bottom shelf stuff I think.

I’m not sure, but maybe the “old” naming convention in America had something to do with the American standard for Bourbon, Jack Daniels “Old No. 7 Brand” which is still prominent on every Bottle of Jack.

I regularly drink Old Crow and Old Grandad, depending on how much cash I have.

I remember a throwaway gag in a Woody Woodypecker cartoon in a bar, which displayed a brand, Old Post Mortem: I don’t know whether they’re saying it kills you, or that the alcohol content is high enough to use for sterilizing instruments. Probably both. The comedy came from the juxtaposition of Latin words with the old English of whiskey from the UK/US.

And don’t forget Old Ned. I recall a cartoon from the 1950’s: the bartender held a bottle out to a customer and said, “Now if you really want something old…” The bottle had a face on it, and the face’s beard had grown way beyond the picture, even beyond the bottle.

The only other ‘Old Ned’ reference I remember is Mr. Peterson (Dr. Hartley’s patient) on the Bob Newhart Show, who declared his intention to “raise Old Ned” when going out for a night of drinking.

I remember a bottle of “Old Overcoat” in a Three Stooges short.

I assume the word “old” is included to imply that the liquor is well aged, in addition to the brand itself being old and venerable.

The Old Rip van Winkle distillery makes Pappy van Winkle bourbons aged from 10 to 23 years in the cask. I’ve got several of them and they’re very well-crafted.

That’s a reference to Old Overholt, which is a rye. It was fairly popular in the 30s.

They are all still available for sale at my local Bevmo. Old Grand-Dad Bonded (100 proof) and Old Weller Antique (127 proof) are excellent bourbons. Old Forester Birthday is highly limited and highly delicious.

Except that Jack Daniel’s isn’t a bourbon, it’s a Tennessee whisky.

And, just a nitpick here, but note the use of the apostrophe: Jack Danial’s is a whisky, Jack Daniels is a car dealer in New Jersey.

Bourbon makers are trying to position it as a hip, high-end product for young drinkers (hence the trend toward “small-batch” premium brands), and naming something “Old” doesn’t fit that image.

According to Wikipedia, Tennessee whiskey is Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced in the state of Tennessee.

Well done, sir.

And Gaudere’s is a Law.

Damn! I could’ve sworn I checked that!

It’s insidious. And I’m tickled by the thought that someone reading this may be looking back now and unable to figure out where it bit you.

And then there’s the name that the bums in Cannery Row made up. They referred to a cheap brand of “Old Tennessee” whiskey as “Old Tennis Shoes”.