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James E. Pepper Straight Rye Whiskey Old Style

L&P Wines & Liquors

James E. Pepper Straight Rye Whiskey Old Style

$ 28.99

Color: Also very light; this is another claim to be aged “over two years,” but it looks like it’s barely made the cut. It’s the color of a yellowed clipping from a years-ago newspaper.

Nose: Honeysuckle, new pencil erasers, spruce, pine needles fallen on the forest floor

Palate: This is as smooth as the Barrel Proof is fiery—that is to say, very. This is as smooth as that guy at the bar whose lines you swear are genuine. There is nothing abrasive about this at all. It’s not even strongly flavored, but I like that. After that smooth start, it finishes buttery with a slight sweetness, like pound cake.

Final Thoughts: Though this is priced similarly to their Barrel Aged Rye, it’s a very different experience. I much preferred this. The San Francisco World Spirits 2013 agrees: It won a Gold Medal. It’s something to drink on a porch on a hot summer day, no problem. But remember: At 100 proof, that might be a little dangerous—like anything that goes down easy

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