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American

Clermont Steep American Single Malt

$59.99

OVERALL
RATING

8

Whiskey Review: Clermont Steep American Single Malt

Tasting Notes:

About:
5-year American Single Malt.; 47% abv; SRP $59.99; limited nationwide release.
Appearance:
Medium amber.
Nose:
Surprisingly sweet. The nose brings forward the essence of brown sugar, bananas, honey, and wheat. Through the middle to the end, you can find some toasted almonds, vanilla, and lightly toasted oak. It is overall a soft and sweet nose.
Palate:
Holding the whiskey on the tongue you find a watery mouthfeel with a short tingle to the tongue. Notes of char are present while remaining restrained. The flavor opens to mellow malted grain with a twang of alcohol. Honey and simple sugar round out the palate. The finish is muted but holds nicely with vanilla, almonds, and bananas.
Finish:
Comments:
This whiskey is very approachable and easy to drink. The bottle design is fun, and the stopper is a replica grinding stone. Or at least that’s what it looks like to me. Overall, this is great for an introduction to American Single Malt. It is not sophisticated and won’t leave you guessing with what you’re tasting.rnrnHowever, it is easy to drink, it’s easy to enjoy, and it will get people into the category. A five year whiskey that is easy on the nose, mouth, and finish is a winner.

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs. 

Jim Beam, long an all things bourbon maker, recently branched into a Single Malt American whiskey called Clermont Steep. American Single Malt is booming across distilleries right now. It seems that the U.S. Government’s adoption of American Single Malt as a legally recognized whiskey is a forgone conclusion at this point.

Until legal adoption, this is the 2016 working definition proposed by the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (which Beam Suntory does not belong to). The primary proposed rules are:

  1. Made from 100% malted barley.
  2. Distilled entirely at one distillery.
  3. Mashed, distilled, and matured in the United States of America.
  4. Matured in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 liters.
  5. Distilled to no more than 160 proof, or 80% alcohol by volume.
  6. Bottled at 80 proof or more.

Clermont Steep does seem to fit the requisite definition outlined by the Commission. The brainchild of Freddie Noe, who has been distilling at Beam since 1988 alongside his father, Fred Noe, said in a press release “As a new venture, crafting Clermont Steep has been one of the toughest challenges I have ever faced in the distillery, and I am incredibly proud of where we’ve landed. This American Single Malt Whiskey is smooth, sweet and incredibly balanced, and it deserves a spot on any whiskey lover’s bar cart, right alongside their bourbons and ryes.”

Freddie Noe is the lead distiller at Fred B. Noe distillery, named for his father. This distillery within the larger James B. Beam distillery serves as the home to small batch brands like Booker’s, Little Book, and now Clermont Steep. This whiskey marks the first foray into the style for James B. Beam and adds another label to an expansive portfolio.

Beam et al. is joining a crowded pool, but they’ve got the money and technology to join late. However, how late can you be to a party that arguably didn’t start until 2016? This category of whiskey is new, and a little confusing to stay on top of. Without a legal definition there really aren’t a whole lot of rules required by distilleries, and without rules it can be a little like the wild west.

Clermont Steep may be a bridge whiskey to help convert Bourbon enthusiasts over to the new category. In my opinion, James B. Beam is really going to need to sell this as a totally different drinking experience than the dozens of other products it produces. With that, we turn to the glass.

Clermont Steep American Single Malt
We review Clermont Steep American Single Malt, Jim Beam’s entry into this growing American whiskey category. (image via Charles Steele/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Clermont Steep American Single Malt

Vital Stats: 5-year American Single Malt.; 47% abv; SRP $59.99; limited nationwide release.

Appearance: Medium amber.

Nose: Surprisingly sweet. The nose brings forward the essence of brown sugar, bananas, honey, and wheat. Through the middle to the end, you can find some toasted almonds, vanilla, and lightly toasted oak. It is overall a soft and sweet nose.

Taste: Holding the whiskey on the tongue you find a watery mouthfeel with a short tingle to the tongue. Notes of char are present while remaining restrained. The flavor opens to mellow malted grain with a twang of alcohol. Honey and simple sugar round out the palate. The finish is muted but holds nicely with vanilla, almonds, and bananas.

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