James E Pepper Rye

Modern James E Pepper Rye (aka James E Pepper 1776 Rye) has nothing to do with the iconic brand that started in 1780 and stopped production in 1958. The new stuff isn’t being sourced from MGP by a family member or restarted by someone who worked there in the 50s or anything like that. The brand was restarted, and currently owned, by a guy named Amir Peay and the fact that he has no relation but is still doing it right is admirable.

Mr. Peay has been collecting anything and everything that has to do with the original James E Pepper distillery which includes plans and schematics of the distillery from when it was open. He did this so that once he acquired the old distillery he could faithfully renovated it as best he could and in December of 2017 started distilling in it once again. And just to throw in a dash of irony he hired one of the distillers from MGP, where he sourced his whiskey from, to come and be his new master distiller.

Pretty neat huh? On to the James E Pepper Rye review!

James E Pepper Rye Review

James E Pepper Rye Color

In James E. Pepper’s Words: James E Pepper Rye

“100 Proof – Not Chill-Filtered – Over 90% Rye in the Mash Bill
Complex & Flavorful; notes of mint, cloves, eucalyptus, chocolate, & honey
Our most popular whiskey; a great sipper neat or on the rocks; also makes the perfect Old Fashioned of Manhattan”

James E Pepper Rye price, ABV, age and other details

Region: Indiana, USA

Distiller: MGP
Bottler: James E. Pepper
Mashbill: 90%+ Rye + Malted Barley and maybe some corn (likely the standard 95/5 MGP rye mash)
Cask: New Charred Oak
Age: 2+ years
ABV: 50%

Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Price: $25

James E Pepper Rye Tasting Notes


Dill, copper, honey, grain, citrus, white pepper and a bit of oak and fruit.

Honey, dill, butter, copper, cinnamon and a bit of pineapple and oak.

Medium -> White pepper, dill, clove, oil, nuts and fruit.

Good balance, medium body and a soft almost-oily feel.

James E Pepper Rye Review – OVERALL
James E Pepper Rye is a great example of that tasty MGP rye that always carries a nice big dollop of spice and dill. There’s a nice touch of fruity sweetness throughout that compliments the spice and sits well with the light touches of oak. A few drops of water unlock a bit more sweetness in the form of brown sugar and also a bit of chalk.

This is a perfectly drinkable whiskey, but my favorite use for the James E Pepper Rye is making cocktails. The 50% ABV and high spice give the whiskey the power it needs to not just give support to a cocktail but stand out in the mix. A nice well rounded whiskey.

SCORE: 84/100 (B)

James E Pepper Rye Review

James E Pepper Rye Label

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