James E. Pepper is an iconic brand in Bourbon history, one of the most popular until the mid-twentieth century. Now Georgetown Trading Co. has relaunched it, working with Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana. They’ve derived their recipe from a letter dated 1887 from James E. Pepper himself, detailing his production methods and grain bills. Straight out of the bottle, it’s easy to see that this is a young whiskey, barely pale brown in color. The rye offers plenty of the grain’s telltale spice, as well as some nice meadow grass, gingersnap and apple-core qualities. The Bourbon projects more oak than its brother, with coconut, caramel and pepper flavor and a mild woodsy bite. Their high proofs and low prices make these great for Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, where the ice dilution tames the heat, but not the flavor.
JAS. E. Pepper & Co., Bardstown, KY
This story appears in the print issue of December 2013.
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