The NMR spectra of n-pentane as solute in the liquid crystal 5CB are measured at several temperatures in the nematic phase. Atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of this system are carried out to predict the dipolar couplings of the orientationally ordered pentane, and the spectra predicted from these simulations are compared with the NMR experimental ones. The simulation predictions provide an excellent starting point for analysis of the experimental NMR spectra using the covariance matrix adaptation evolutionary strategy. This shows both the power of atomistic simulations for aiding spectral analysis and the success of atomistic molecular dynamics in modeling these anisotropic systems. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.