James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon Review: Surprisingly Good Taste

Review by Mark Pringle |

78 General Review of 1776 Straight Bourbon (James E. Pepper)

James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon is a surprisingly tasty whiskey that has even more value when you factor in its low cost. 

James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon

Rating: 78


Ratings breakdown based on a 100 point scale.

  • 90-100 Exceptional
  • 80-89 Very Good
  • 70-79 Average
  • 60-69 Below Average
  • 50-60 Drain Pour

Detailed Tasting Notes

Nose Review - Rating: 74

The nose starts with a youthful musty sugary oak you sometimes find and lower-priced bourbons. Caramel and vanilla try to peek through, but there is no getting around the musty new oak aroma. There's also mild ethanol that is always present. Strangely, this is a very high rye mash bill, and there is very little indication of the rye on the nose initially. The rye spice doesn’t reveal itself until you’ve had a few sips of the bourbon. Any rye spice that you smell is more earthy than aromatic.

Palate Review - Rating: 81

The palate of James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon makes up for the nose. The new oak flavor is also on the palate but is slightly salty initially. However, for $24.99, this bourbon is very creamy with some honey sweetness. At 100 proof, it seems to drink a little weaker as the bottle opens up.

While the sweetness is the first thing that hits you, the spice kicks in on the mid-palate and the finish, I like that it is a high-rye (36%) and has a little bit of spicy kick to it at 100 proof to suppress some of the sweetness.

The honey oak flavor is very dominant on the palate. This is a very enjoyable bourbon. I attribute that to the high-rye mash bill of 60% Corn, 36% Rye, and 4% Malted Barley. For my palate, I believe that when you get around 100 proof or lower, you need more rye in the mash bill. This mash bill seems perfect to me for this bourbon.

As you sip on this, there is more spice than sweetness, but having both is good and what I look for in a bourbon. It gets better the longer you experience it.

Finish Review - Rating: 78

The finish is better than you would expect at this price point. The length is a little less than medium, but the warmth present lasts a long time. Mild honey oak.

Uniqueness Review - Rating: 76

It is a little unique because the taste of James E. Pepper 1776 Bourbon is much better than its retail price.

Value Review - Rating: 83

At $24.99, this is one of the better values on the market. While it may fall short on the nose, the palate more than makes up for it.

Author: Mark Pringle
Smell IS taste. I am just a guy who has been hit with the bourbon bug and who has come to the conclusion that life is too short to drink average tasting bourbons. Go Gators!
My External Website (External Website Opens in New Window)


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