Old Pepper Rye “Finest Kentucky Oak” is Coming Back to James E. Pepper

Old Pepper Rye Finest Kentucky Oak

James E. Pepper has announced the return of their popular Old Pepper Rye “Finest Kentucky Oak,” arriving at the distillery in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday, October 5th.

The new release sees their standard 3 to 4-year 95% rye whiskey sourced from Indiana finished in heavily toasted and lightly charred second barrels. It’s from these special barrels, which are made solely from Kentucky Oak staves dried 24 months prior to coopering and 6 months after, that the whiskey takes its name. After finishing in the second barrel, the rye is bottled at a barrel strength 116 proof.

“We are excited to get this popular product back out in the market,” said Amir Peay, distillery owner. “Each release of the Old Pepper Rye “Finest Kentucky Oak” is made up of a few of our favorite barrels and is very limited. It is also one of our most in demand and award-winning offerings, so we are really happy for fans to have the opportunity to enjoy it this fall.”

Peay revived the historic brand in 2010, opening for in tours in Lexington’s Distillery District in 2017. Guests visiting after the release will be able to taste the new rye, along with others in the 1776 and Old Pepper line.

The distillery will also add a new, later visitor experience to their tour schedule beginning next week. The 30 minute “Copper and Cocktails” tour will offer guests an after-hours peek at the distillery, with a short tour of the museum and still room and samples of their bourbon and rye whiskey. Guests can stay for an Old Fashioned cocktail after the guided tour concludes, and with run times of 5 and 6 PM makes for a perfect happy hour or pre-dinner drink.

Just 100 bottles of Old Pepper Rye “Finest Kentucky Oak” will be available at James E. Pepper beginning at 10 AM on Saturday, October 5th. For the first hour, Distillers Cody Giles and Jacob Gill will be on hand in the gift shop to sign bottles and answer questions. A limited supply will also make it to retail markets in Kentucky and around the country for a suggested price of around $80.

Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.