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James E. Pepper 1776 Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Posted on by Eric Burke

I’m a bit odd when it comes to places. Certain ones just make me a bit uncomfortable. And I’m not talking high crime areas either. As an example, the small town my wife is from happened to be on the route that my father took when he picked me up to spend a weekend with him. I always hated that town, specifically one end of the town. I just always got a creepy-crawly feeling whenever we’d drive through.

I get a similar feeling when I drive through Indianapolis. I often joke to my wife as we drive through that I don’t quite believe that it exists. That maybe it is just a giant hallucination we’ve all bought into. There does’t seem to be any reason why it is in the particular location it’s in other than someone pointed to a map and said “that looks like the middle.” (Exaggerating for effect, but read for yourself.) In any case, I get that same creepy-crawly feeling whenever we drive through Indianapolis. As if my body just doesn’t want to be there. And since it is pretty much the only thing worth noting on a drive through Indiana, by extension, I tend to not like Indiana. At least not to drive through.

Which brings me to my main point. I’m about to say something that to some folks will be controversial. Even though I tend to not like driving through Indiana, I do tend to like whiskey from Indiana. Specifically I tend to like products that come from the MGP distillery in Lawrenceburg, IN. I seldom like the (probably fake or at least borrowed) histories that come along with the whiskeys, but unfortunately few folks are willing to let the whiskey inside the bottle be the draw. Which is too bad, those that do tend to do well with them especially when they have a little age on them. High West and Smooth Ambler come to mind.

So it was with interest that I noticed the “Aged 6 Years” on the front label and the “Distilled in Indiana” on the back label when I picked up a bottle of James E. Pepper 1776 bourbon to review. 

James E. Pepper 1776 Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Purchase Info: $35.99 for a 750 mL bottle. Casanova Liquors, Hudson, WI.

Details: Distilled in Indiana. Stated age: 6 years. 46% ABV.

Nose: Dessert-like with baking spices and brown sugar. 

Mouth: Mouth follows the nose with more baking spices, toffee and brown sugar but with the addition of what can only be described as eucalyptus.

Finish: Sweet with a gentle burn. Lingering baking spices. 

Thoughts: MGP makes very good bourbon. This is no exception. Six years old, 90+ proof, for about $35? Yes all around. I’d recommend this one and will be happy to pick up another if it is similarly priced.


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