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 Whisky is an old fashioned whisky, 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 whisky made in America, and we invite comparison with any whisky 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.
"Before re-launching this iconic brand," says Amir Peay, "we did extensive research and spent years collecting and analyzing full, preserved bottles of original Pepper Whiskey." Peay even acquired a letter written by Pepper himself, detailing the exact mashbill and recipe used to create Old 1776. "We wanted to pay homage to Pepper's legacy and do our best to recreate the original Pepper Whiskey - something that was part of American history,"he says.
James E. Pepper 1776 Straight Rye Whiskey is made from a blend of hand-selected barrels that are nearly identical to the whiskey that Pepper produced himself. The mash, which is comprised over 90% rye (the remainder is malted barley), is distilled and aged for a minimum of three years before being bottled. The high-rye mash bill and non-chill filtration result in a whiskey that is noticeably spicy, with notes of cinnamon, cloves and dark chocolate, but finishes with a touch of sweetness.
James E. Pepper 1776 Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made from a mash of approximately 62% corn and malted barley, and 38% rye. After distillation, the bourbon is aged for a minimum of five years in new, American oak casks. As a result, it has slightly sweet hints of vanilla, toffee and caramel, that subtly compliment notes of baking spices, spicy rye and oak.
James E. Pepper 1776 Straight Rye Whiskey earned the Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013, while James E. Pepper 1776 Straight Bourbon Whiskey earned the Double Gold Medal.
"We used the same traditional methods that Pepper championed in order to restore these whiskies," says Peay. Try two traditional whiskies today!
100 (50% ABV) each
This product is not available in AL, AK, AR, CO, DE, FL, HI, IA, ID, IL, KS, KY, LA, MA, MN, MD, MS, ND, NH, PA, SD, TX, WA or WI.
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Rye: Bold and spicy, with notes of cloves, cinnamon, chocolate and baking spices. Finish is long and has a touch of sweet vanilla and honey. Bourbon: Slightly sweet hints of vanilla, toffee and caramel, that subtly compliment notes of baking spices and oaky wood.