James E. Pepper 1776 Straight Bourbon Whiskey, “Old Style”, is yet another Indiana distilled whiskey, but bottled in Kentucky; with a fantastic story and look. This bourbon is bottled at 100 Proof, and is a high rye bourbon containing over 38% rye in the mash bill.
While Jame E. Pepper is indeed legendary and one of the oldest distillers in the nation, that does not mean anything but his name and maybe whiskey flavor profile have anything to do with this whiskey. But it is a good story… “In this bottle lies the oldest and most legendary whiskey legacy in American history. The same old style and methods have been preserved and restored in this fine whiskey”.
The makers researched the history of the original bourbon, and from documented accounts of it (and tasting notes that were recorded) they set out to make a similar whiskey. This is much like when makers claim “prohibition era” whiskeys. It should be taken with a grain of salt, and as probably little more than a good story for marketing the new whiskey with similar profiles to an older era’s whiskey. But hey, I like a good story as much as the next person. As long as you buy the whiskey, and not the story, it’s all good. Well, unless the whiskey itself is not good.
You can find out more about James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon and their other offerings at their website: jamesepepper.com.
So is this whiskey good? Let’s find out!
SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass
COLOR: Bright gold
Coats the glass and freezes, then with a bit of time thin long legs form.
NOSE: Crisp apples, caramel, and brown sugar, slight bit of cherries, rye spices, cloves, dark chocolate and grains.
PALATE: Smooth and ever so slightly oily. Honey and brown sugar, cherries, then a large kick of white pepper and rye spice and a kiss of ginger and oak, and then vanilla.
FINISH: Good heat, medium to long finish (depends on the volume of your sip), rye spices fade away to a subtle vanilla sweetness that lingers with a touch of ginger and some oak bitters. It gives a nice dryness as well as makes your mouth water at the same time.
OVERVIEW: I love the story and the packaging. If you like rye spices and white pepper this will be a good choice. For 100 Proof there is really no alcohol on the nose nor palate, but you do feel it on the tongue and down to the belly. It has nice heat. And as it opens up, the nose brings forth more brown sugar and notes that you may have not noticed at first. But the palate stays pretty consistent. For me this is a solid pour and priced correctly. It isn’t a particularly balanced pour, but if you like rye spices (as I stated above) this is a great sipper. Me? I like rye spices. So this gets a thumbs up.