James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon "Old Style"

The Pepper whiskey brand has a rich American history

Pepper traces its roots to the early 1780s before Kentucky was Kentucky. Elijah Pepper was making whiskey in Virginia during the American Revolution. He moved west after the war and continued making whiskey near present-day Versailles, KY. In 1812, he established a cabin and distillery on the site of what is Woodford Reserve Distillery today.

Pepper remained very popular for several generations. By the late 1870s, a second Pepper distillery in Lexington, KY was America's largest. Unfortunately, Prohibition and hard times knocked Pepper out in 1958, and the brand was but a memory by the 1970s.

In 2008, the Georgetown Trading Co. acquired the rights to the James E. Pepper whiskey brand and began the hard work of rebuilding the historic James E. Pepper Distillery in Lexington. In the meantime, Pepper is selling MGP whiskeys to jump start the business. 

James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon

Georgetown Trading Co. / MGP
100 proof
$35 at Liquor Barn in Lexington, KY


Fairly light...translucent cantaloupe. 


Let it breathe. Eventually light, fluffy marshmallow sweetness emerges to temper the sharper grain notes and tight wood. I get some saucy brown sugar and creme brulee. 

Tasting Notes

Cinnamon apple juice meets white peppery, herbal citrusy thing. Thin mouthfeel, short/medium finish with a touch of peat-like smoke.


C. A very aromatic bourbon whiskey that let my palate down. At $35 and 100 proof, a great choice for my "Old and Bold Fashioned" cocktail. I applaud the G'town Trading Co. and look forward to the Pepper future. 

Peer Review:

Whiskey Wash