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Jim Beam Crosses Into American Single Malt Territory With New Release

Jim Beam has long been known as one of the main brands associated with the most American of whiskeys, bourbon. Now, in a move that will throw a heavyweight into a still emerging category of American whiskey, Beam has debuted its very first American single malt whiskey.

The new offering, known as Clermont Steep American Single Malt Whiskey, is, according to those behind it, the pet project of the younger Freddie Noe, 8th generation master distiller of the Fred B. Noe Distillery on the grounds of James B. Beam Distilling Co campus in Kentucky. As American single malt has yet to have an official standard approved by the TTB, Noe took it upon himself to develop his own guidelines.

To this end Noe and his team hand-selected the American malted barley for the mash (80% Standard Malted Barley, 20% Golden Pilsner Malted Barley), testing some 67 different barley varieties along the way, and used Beam family jug yeast in the natural fermentation process. It’s the same yeast that is used in all Beam products. This was then distilled on a column still and aged for five years in barrels that were toasted, then quickly charred to a char level 1.

Clermont Steep American Single Malt
Jim Beam has long been known as one of the main brands associated with the most American of whiskeys, bourbon. Now, in a move that will throw a heavyweight into a still emerging category of American whiskey, Beam has debuted its very first American single malt whiskey. (image via Beam-Suntory)

“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,” said Noe in a prepared statement. “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.

“I’m always looking toward the future of American Whiskey, and the boundless runway in this category intrigued me. We don’t just want to participate in American Single Malt Whiskey; we want to help define it for the future of the category.”

Plans call for Clermont Steep to be available in select states across the US, in-store and on ReserveBar, beginning June 2023. It is bottled at 47% ABV and prices around $60 per 750 ml bottle. Official tasting notes are below:

  • Color: Golden Honey
  • Nose: Toasted Malt, Caramel, Toffee
  • Palate: Vanilla, Caramel, Whole-Grain / Cereal

The Fred B. Noe Distillery, for those that don’t know, was named after 7th Generation Master Distiller Fred Noe and is under the guidance of Freddie Noe. It serves as the home to legacy small batch brands, such as Booker’s Bourbon, as well as new-to-world whiskeys, including Little Book Whiskey, Hardin’s Creek Bourbon and, in the future, Clermont Steep.

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder 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 provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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