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James E. Pepper Distillery USA

James E. Pepper 1776 7yo

Review of a bourbon from a very old American recipe.

Provenance: Kentucky (USA)
Typology: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Gradation: 46%ABV
Ageing barrels: Toasted American Oak
Chillfiltered: No
Added coloring: No
Owner: Georgetown Trading Co.
Average Price: € 55,00
Official website: jamesepepper.com/
Vote: 87/100

James E. Pepper is a very young label, founded in 2008 by Amir Peay. The distillery was only built in 2017, but the choice of location (and name) has roots in the distant past.
The brand was founded in 1780, at the height of the American Revolution, by the Pepper family, but it was in the second half of the 19th century, thanks to the inventiveness and stubbornness of Colonel James, that the label began to establish itself in the United States, thanks in part to the enthusiasm of the eccentric owner, who called his distillery the oldest in America and the largest in the world.
A fervent supporter of the fight against the laws of the time, aimed at limiting the distillation of whiskey, Pepper, in order to promote his distillate, created a dense network of contacts among high-profile New Yorkers, so much so that it’s said the Old Fashioned was created in his honour in New York.
Having survived the two world wars unscathed, albeit with varying fortunes, the distillery ceased production altogether in 1958, after having stockpiled large quantities of whiskey in anticipation of a blockade (which never took place) during the Korean War.

The new distillery was built exactly on the site of the previous one, declared a place of historical interest, recovering the old original recipes, including the 1776 bourbon, named after Colonel James at the time because it was made according to the recipe of the revolutionary period.
Until the original spirit is aged enough to produce its own bottlings, the label will have the whiskey made by MGP Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana.
If you want to learn more about the history of this brand, you can find an interesting article here.
There are currently five bottlings in the distillery’s portfolio, one bourbon and four ryes, while the one featured in this piece is now out of production.

Tasting notes

Amber in the glass.
Warm, enveloping wood spices reach the nose, bathed in molasses with plenty of pencil shavings. A decisive and persistent bouquet, fat, comforting. Over time it develops light balsamic notes with herbaceous hints that lighten the tones.
Full and soft on the palate, it reflects the olfactory notes with peppery tips and a light whiff of smoke on nutmeg, cinnamon, caramelised cane sugar, milk chocolate, sweet liquorice (Haribo type), pecans. Freshly cut wood, toasted resin.
Quite long finish of spices, wood, caramel, chocolate.

A whiskey that is long and pleasant to drink. Bourbons are often designed for blending, but this one lends itself to drinking straight, without water or ice, classic as few can be.
 

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