Thomas Parr a.k.a. Old Tom Parr was an English farmer born in 1483. He reached the extraordinary age of 152 years and 9 months, lived through the reign of ten monarchs and witnessed the Golden Age of Queen Elizabeth I.
During his long life he became a revered national figure and a legendary symbol of wisdom and maturity.
In tribute to his great prestige, King Charles I proclaimed by special decree that the man who had lived longer than all others should be laid to rest alongside the great and worthy in Westminster Abbey.
In 1871, Scottish brothers James and Samuel Greenlees established their whisky blender and merchant business at Gresham Buildings in the city of London. The market for blended Scotch whiskies was still in its infancy – and they hoped to exploit this newly emerging interest.
Driven by this conviction, they experimented tirelessly. They were determined to create a blend that would be acknowledged as one of the finest Scotch whiskies the world had ever seen.
James and Samuel became two of the most skilled and successful pioneers of the blended whisky business of their time.
In 1909, the Greenlees Brothers introduced (Ancient) Old Parr.
They named their blend after the legendary figure of Thomas Parr, said to be England’s longest-lived man, aged 152 when he died in 1635. His long life symbolized the maturity of the whiskies used in the blend, whilst his wisdom represented the skill and knowledge required to produce it.
In 1871, as international trade began to develop between East and West, Emperor Meji of Japan dispatched his foreign minister, Iwakura Tomomi, on a two-year diplomatic tour of America and Europe, known as the Iwakura mission.
Although unsuccessful on the tour’s primary mission, legend has it that he returned to Japan with a case of his favorite Scotch whisky: a Greenlees Brothers blend.
Old Parr has had historically strong presence in Latin America, with its first shipments to the region estimated to have taken place in 1921.
Today, Latin America and the Caribbean account for the vast majority of Old Parr global sales.