The American Single Malt Whiskey category has been bubbling up in the U.S. for more than a decade. Though there is no official government definition of what an American Single Malt Whiskey is, there are some industry standards that distilleries have been following for years now. An official definition is pending approval from the TTB.
What is American Single Malt Whiskey?
The American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (ASMWC) has been working on a common definition since it’s founding in 2016. Here is the current definition of American Single Malt Whiskey from the ASMWC.
- Made from 100% Malted Barley
- Distilled entirely at one distillery
- Mashed, distilled and matured in the United States of America
- Matured in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 Liters
- Distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) Proof (80% Alcohol by Volume)
- Bottled at 80 (U.S.) proof or more (40% Alcohol by Volume)
For years, we’ve seen smaller, upstart craft spirits makers taking the lead in releasing American Single Malt Whiskeys. We are now seeing the larger, Prohibition era distilleries enter the category as the likes of Jim Beam, the world’s largest producer of bourbon announces their first release.
James B. Beam Distilling Announces, ‘Clermont Steep’ American Single Malt Whiskey
The James B. Beam Distilling Co. in Clermont, Kentucky brings its 227 years of whiskey-making expertise and excellence to the American Single Malt Whiskey category with the launch of Clermont Steep™. Developed by Freddie Noe, 8th Generation Master Distiller of the Fred B. Noe Distillery, this venture into an emerging category explores the full potential of a single grain – American Malted Barley.
With no official definition of the category, Noe developed his own defining guidelines, making intentional production choices to celebrate the flavor of this single grain at every step of development. Clermont Steep is a five-year-old liquid distilled and aged in Clermont, Kentucky, and matured in new American Oak barrels.
“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. “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.”
A 5-Year-Old American Single Malt Whiskey Aged in New Toasted & Charred Barrels
Clermont Steep is a whiskey steeped in influence from both process and place. Just as single malt couldn’t exist without steeping the grain. Noe and his team hand-selected the American malted barley for the mash and used Beam family jug yeast in the natural fermentation process. It’s the same yeast that is used in all Beam products, adding a sense of familiarity to every sip. The single malt 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.
“I’m always looking toward the future of American Whiskey, and the boundless runway in this category intrigued me,” said Noe. “We don’t just want to participate in American Single Malt Whiskey; we want to help define it for the future of the category.”
The foray into an American Single Malt Whiskey is proof of the innovation possible within the Fred B. Noe Distillery under Freddie Noe’s guidance. The Fred B. Noe Distillery was named after 7th Generation Master Distiller Fred Noe and serves as the home to legacy small batch brands, such as Booker’s® Bourbon, as well as new-to-world whiskies, including Little Book® Whiskey, Hardin’s Creek® Bourbon and, in the future, Clermont Steep.
Clermont Steep American Single Malt Whiskey Tasting Notes
Clermont Steep is a five-year-old liquid distilled and aged in Clermont, Kentucky, and matured in bespoke barrels to deliver warm toffee sweetness on the palate without overshadowing the unique, bready taste of American barley.
Color: Golden Honey
Nose: Toasted Malt, Caramel, Toffee
Palate: Vanilla, Caramel, Whole-Grain / Cereal
Proof: 94 (47% ABV)
James B. Beam Distilling Co’s Clermont Steep American Single Malt Whiskey will be available in select states across the US, in-store and online, beginning June 2023. Clermont Steep is bottled at 94 proof (47% ABV) and has a suggested retail prices of $59.99.
Learn more about the James B. Beam Distilling Co.
View all Bardstown and Nelson County Distilleries.
View all Kentucky Distilleries.
View all U.S. Distilleries.
American Single Malt Whiskey Association Founding Members
Balcones Distilling, Waco, Texas
Copperworks Distilling, Seattle, Washington
Few Spirits, Evanston, Illinois
Headframe Spirits, Butte, Montana
Santa Fe Spirits, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Triple Eight Distillery, Nantucket, Massachusetts
Virginia Distillery Co, Lovingston, Virginia
Westland Distillery, Seattle, Washington
Westward Distillery, Portland, Oregon
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