Latest release of Old Pepper Rye “Finest Kentucky Oak” to hit shelves this fall

by James Stevenson

Lexington, KY – Whiskey enthusiasts rejoice! One of the most popular expressions of the James E. Pepper distillery will have a new release this fall. The Old Pepper “Finest Kentucky Oak” Rye Whiskey will soon be back on shelves in the distillery gift shop as well as in Kentucky and select markets nationally.

“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 “FKO” 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.”


Photographer Jan Hanus

Much goes into making this expression so special. The initial distillation and maturation process starts with the standard award-winning Pepper rye whiskey recipe, but then the aged whiskey is given a secondary maturation in a new oak cask made from staves of Kentucky Oak. The staves for these barrels were air dried for 24 months prior to assembly, then heavily toasted and lightly charred. An average barrel is air dried for 6 months. This process creates a very unique and favorable taste profile, rich in barrel character and complexity.




The Old Pepper “FKO” is one of the most critically acclaimed offerings from the Pepper Distillery. It most recently took home a Double Gold Medal from the San Francisco World Spirit Competition. Other notable accolades include Best Rye Whiskey in the World from the 2018 New York World Spirits Competition, Double Gold Medal in the 2018 New York World Spirits Competition and the rating of “93 points / Exceptional” in the 2018 BTI International Review of Spirits. This spring Whiskey Advocate reviewed this offering and gave it “90 Points / Outstanding” noting it is a whiskey of superior character and style.

As the new Old Pepper Rye “FKO” release becomes available, visitors to the distillery will have the opportunity to sample the product in one of the whiskey flights offered at the bar. It will also be available for purchase in the gift shop. The distillery is open Wednesday – Sunday for tours and tastings. For more information or to book a tour visit










About the Pepper Brand & Distillery
Founded during the American Revolution and distilled over three family generations, the Pepper family brand of whiskey is one of the oldest & most iconic brands of whiskey made in Kentucky.  The historic James E. Pepper Distillery in Lexington operated until 1961, when production ceased and both the distillery and brand were abandoned for over 50 years.  After a campaign of extensive historical research, a project began to re-launch the brand and rebuild the distillery.  The brand was re-launched in 2010 and in December of 2017 the iconic distillery, DSP-KY-5, began distilling whiskey once more using historic recipes and locally grown grain.  Located in downtown Lexington, the Pepper Distillery is in the heart of the Distillery District, a revitalized neighborhood and vibrant entertainment district featuring restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries and more.

1 comment

James E. Pepper Re-Releases Finest Kentucky Oak Rye - The Whiskey Wash October 1, 2019 - 12:02 PM

[…] air-dried for 24 months—substantially longer than the standard six-month air-dry, according to a prepared statement from the distillery—and then given a light […]

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