James E. Pepper 1776 Straight Rye Whiskey
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A rye whiskey bottled under the James E Pepper label. James’s grandfather has a claim to having opened the first Kentucky Distillery in 1776, but the James Pepper brand really hit its height in the early part of the 20th century. It’s now back with this bourbon-esque, fruity rye whiskey.
Elijah Pepper began distilling Whiskey at the dawn of the American Revolution and during the War of 1812, he built the first log cabin distillery in Versailles, Kentucky. Eventually, he passed the family business on to his son, Oscar, and then on to his grandson, James E. Pepper.
Colonel James E. Pepper was one of Kentucky’s first Bourbon aristocrats — he raced thoroughbreds in the Kentucky Derby, traveled in a private rail car and made famous the Old Fashioned cocktail. “Pepper Whiskey is an old fashioned Whiskey, made in the old time way from a formula used for more than 100 years by three generations of the Pepper family,” wrote James, in an advertisement dated August 22, 1887. “We claim not only to make the oldest but absolutely the purest and best brand of Whiskey made in America, and we invite comparison with any Whiskey of any age.”
In 1958, after the Whiskey industry fell on hard times, the James E. Pepper Distillery was forced to close its doors. During its tenure, Pepper Whiskey, or “Old 1776 Whiskey” as it became it known, was a favorite of Presidents Andrew Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant, and was preferred by Daniel Webster, a leading American statesman and senator from Massachusetts.
- Tasting Notes
Nose: Cedar, menthol, lemongrass, cooked summer berries, dark chocolate.
Palate: Lots of dark fruit notes complement classic rye heat. Brilliant balance.
Finish: Subtly earthy spice sticks around on the finish.