Quick review: James E. Pepper 3yo batch 2 TBWC

Behind the eighteenth window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden a James E. Pepper 3yo batch 2 Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish, bottled at 50% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company. Colonel James E. Pepper created his whiskey brank in Lexington, Kentucky back in 1800. The distillery, first known as Henry Clay distillery, then Old Pepper distillery and eventually James E. Pepper distillery, closed down in 1958, and was abandonned for more than 50 years before an entrepreneur named Amir Peay bought it and relaunched the brand name in 2008. Distillation resumed in December 2017 on the distillery site, so it means this rye whiskey has been sourced, probably from MGP. This release is part of a 3 finishes series, with batch 1 being an Oloroso finish, this batch 2 a PX finish, and batch 3 an Ale finish. Batch 2 had an outturn of 1077 bottles and can be bought for £46.95 on Master of Malt.

James E. Pepper 3yo batch 2 PX Finish bottle
A diner with whiskey on tap, perfect. Bottle picture courtesy of Master of Malt.


Old brown sherry.

One pic, two drams, cost killing.
Cotswolds on the left, James E. Pepper on the right, and friends’ coins all over the place!


Coldorak: Spices, caramel, herbal mints, strawberry jam, ginger and cinnamon, quite pepperish. The PX finish also brings red fruits, sultanas and milk chocolate.

Ainulindalë: For such a young dram, the nose is full of leathery and comfy chair notes. The usual dates and plums come to mind, as well as a nutmeg background with liquorice and – appropriately or the name might induce me into smelling it – some pepper. Despite it all it keeps some sort of youth or freshness to it and the earthy notes of rye blend well and are not that bad to me as they’re used to.


Coldorak: Waxy and spicy arrival, quite pepperish. A bit oaky, some orange and pomegranate, lots of sweetness, rye bread covered with honey, but feels a bit too simple.

Ainulindalë: The mouth starts of with the usual PX notes – leather bound, dates and the like. Very low key though. It then delves into pepper, more the chili kind to go over to the nutmeg/sandalwood aspect of the mouth. Overall not that big of a mouth in terms of ups and downs, all being of the same level, and the alcohol is barely felt. It is sweet yet a bit thin to me in that sweetness. I’d expect it to coat my mouth a bit more.


Coldorak: The warmth stays long in the throat, with some sweetness and oak.

Ainulindalë: The finish is a tad short for me, ending on nutmeg and liquorice.


Coldorak: Feels younger than the Cotswolds reviewed just before this one. Sure one is a rye and the other a single malt, but it feels more one-dimensional, even with the PX finish. Disappointed with this one.

Ainulindalë: An interesting take on PX finish albeit it lacks some age in a barrel to me. It’s a good enough dram, but a young one to get into what I’d define more as a PX. I barely smelled anything related to rye except for the sweetness aspects – which is good as I’m usually not a big fan of it.


Coldorak: 78/100

Ainulindalë: 80/100

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