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James E. Pepper Single Barrel Rye Pick – How & Why

Published April 05, 2022

Back in November, I (Charles) took a group to Kentucky with Rascal + Thorn. During this trip, not only did we get to select an incredible Toasted Rye from NULU in Louisville, but we also got the opportunity to select from a number of barrels of Rye Whiskey from Old Pepper Distillery in Lexington. For those of you that don’t know Old Pepper, the Pepper family have been involved in making whiskey since the late 18th Century! Lots of history behind this brand and they are located in one of the old buildings from the original distillery. Very cool stuff.

We had been impressed with the 1776 Rye and a single barrel Rye expression that we had in the shop, so it was great to choose our own barrel at the distillery. And so began the drilling of many barrels….


It took a little while and a lot of whiskey to narrow it down after 6 different barrels, but one stood out to me and after discussing with the distiller (who also liked this barrel very much), we settled on it. And I am so glad we did. It has all of the traditional rye notes that you would want from a 95% Rye Whiskey with an added sweetness that develops over time. This dram continues to change in the glass as you sip and each sip just gets better and better.

James E. Pepper Single Barrel Rye Whiskey
111.4 Proof / 55.7% ABV
Barrel #1302
Mashbill: 95% Rye / 5% Malted Barley
4 Years Old
216 bottles
Charles’ Tasting Notes:
Nose – herbal rye, apricot, caramel
Palate – thick, mouth coating, bright, vanilla, rye spice, oak, a true rye experience
Finish – lingers, red dark fruit, spice



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