The James E. Pepper Distillery, when we last checked in with it earlier this year, was still in the process of reviving a once historic whiskey making location in Kentucky which had sat abandoned for around 50 years. Significant process has been made there since then, so much so it was time to fire up the new stills and produce the first bourbon there in over half a century.
This new bourbon, according to those behind it, was fermented, distilled and barreled on site at the distillery in Lexington. James E. Pepper utilizes a historic limestone well 200 feet below ground, and locally grown corn and rye have been harvested for production. The recipe for the first batch of whiskey distilled was the exact same recipe as last produced here in 1958 before it closed.
image via James E. Pepper Distillery
“This is truly an historic occasion and the culmination of a ten year effort to restore both this iconic brand and the distillery to their proper places in the annals of Kentucky whiskey,” said Amir Peay, owner of the James Pepper Distilling Co., in a prepared statement. “The best part is that we are just getting started and are excited to distill unique, high quality whiskies and to share them with the world when the time is right. We are also very fortunate to be located in the city of Lexington, in the vibrant Distillery District, and look forward to welcoming visitors to our distillery for tours in the Spring of 2018.”
For the curious the distillery features a unique copper still system from Vendome Copper in Louisville, and its design was inspired by the archive of historic mechanical drawings from the old distillery. Vendome also made the still for the same distillery in 1934—the year Prohibition was repealed in Kentucky.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...