James E. Pepper 86 Proof 1971 is an amazing piece of whiskey history. This rare vintage bourbon was distilled at the James E. Pepper distillery before it was shut down in the 1960s, and bottled in 1971 at the George T. Stagg distillery in Frankfort. Pepper is a historic whiskey brand, introduced during the American Revolution – hence the slogan ‘Born with the Republic’. The original Old Pepper distillery in Versailles (today known as the Woodford Reserve Distillery) was founded in 1780 by Elijah Pepper. About a century later, Elijah’s grandson James E. Pepper built a new distillery in Lexington, Kentucky. The distillery was one of the few places that was allowed to continue selling its whiskey for medicinal purposes during Prohibition. After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, James E. Pepper was purchased by Schenley. Schenley closed several of its distilleries in the early 1960s, and consolidated production at the George T. Stagg distillery in Frankfort. The James E. Pepper brand was discontinued in the late 1970s, but has recently been revived by entrepreneur Amir Peay.