James E Pepper
Established in 1780 the legacy of this iconic American distillery is obvious to see when you start to look into the history and although today the name might not quite be on everyone’s lips it certainly should be somewhere in the back of your mind if you are at all into Bourbon / Whiskey..
Being one of the oldest whiskey brands in Kentucky and American whiskey history this all starts with Elijah Pepper who was the distiller between 1780 and 1838 before his son Oscar Pepper takes over as the distiller from 1838 until 1867, Oscar’s son Colonel James E. Pepper became the distiller in 1867 and carried on the family traditions until his death on the 24th December 1906, James was the 3rd generation of that distilling legacy and the last as he had no children to carry on the legacy and his widowed wife sold the distillery to investors. The name carried on and the distillery became well known for sponsoring some of the larger horse races and sporting events including boxing where on July 4th 1910 Jack Johnson, the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the world successfully defended his title
After Prohibition ended the distillery re opens and production is at full steam as they say, and after a fire devastates the distillery is re built and becomes one of the biggest whiskey brands of the time.
1958 sees the end of an era for the James E Pepper brand as the distillery falls upon hard times and production is stopped, the stocks are all sold off..
50 years later Entrepreneur Amir Peay, founder and owner of the Georgetown Trading Co Starts to form a love affair with the history of the brand and begins the long process of re building this former giant back into a reality.. May 4th, 2016 is the date the distillery dream came back to life with the announcement that the James E Pepper distillery would be re built as a craft distillery and museum within the remains of the old distillery and grounds.
On December the 21st 2017 the first barrel of James E Pepper was filled from the new site..
3 Year Old James E Pepper Pedro Ximenez Cask Finish Rye Whiskey
Distillery.. James E Pepper
Region.. Kentucky USA
Age.. 3 years
Outturn.. 1077 bottles
Nose.. An initial burst of dried fruits including Dates, Raisins, Figs and Plums before a minty note starts to battle its way through and mingles with toffee and a chocolate digestive note.
Palate.. Again those dried fruits take control early on but the rye is very evident, aniseed and leather notes mix with a little espresso coffee, mint chocolate, sticky toffee pudding and a little ginger and cinnamon spiciness..
Finish.. Lasting spices and a little heat..
Thoughts.. This is insanely odd !!
But i love it.. Its wacky while at the same time it offers the best of both worlds.. The Rye notes are superbly enjoyable while the Px gives this a real sweetness and thickens that really draws you in, the rye then re balances the equation and just gives you everything a good rye should offer..
Its young but that is possibly its strength too, the rawness is what gives this liquid its backbone and allows both styles to shine..
Did i mention i love it ? Well i do and its on the list……..