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The James B. Beam Distilling Co., the home of the ever popular Jim Beam bourbon, is launching a new series of limited-edition whiskeys under its Hardin’s Creek line. The first of this trio drops today, a 17-year-old bourbon meant to highlight the effects of maturation in a specific Beam warehouse, or what the brand calls “Kentucky terroir.”
Hardin’s Creek launched last year with a dichotomous pair of whiskeys—Jacob’s Well, a blend of regular Beam and Old Grand Dad mashbills aged for 84 months, and Colonel James B. Beam, a pricy two-year-old bourbon. The new Clermont bourbon is aged for a full decade longer than Jacob’s Well, and is part of the Hardin’s Creek Kentucky Series. What this means is that eighth-generation master distiller Freddie Noe selected three liquids that were distilled from the same mashbill at the same time 17 years ago, but each was matured at a different Jim Beam campus. The point here is to show how a different aging environment can affect the flavor of the bourbon, and while tasting notes on the upcoming releases are still under wraps we did get to sample the first one.
“The whole idea of what Hardin’s Creek is about is using traditional levers of whiskey-making to explore bourbon—where the flavors come from, how they develop, what the influence is,” said Noe on a recent Zoom call. “If you were to sum up the Kentucky terroir, I think Clermont would be a good indication of a lot of what the state looks like. My dad says it’s one of the only places where you get a true four seasons… What you get is a balanced version of the state of Kentucky. This whiskey across these three releases was made across a 24-hour span here in Clermont. The most unique part is that the barrels from that same fermentation were dispersed among these facilities at infancy.”
Clermont was matured at the eponymous campus, where the Jim Beam American Stillhouse and the newer Fred B. Noe Distillery are located. The whiskey is a rich and oaky sipper with bit of heat due to the fact that it’s bottled at 110 proof. There are notes of ripe blackberry, pecan, and vanilla custard on the palate as well, with a spicy finish that ends with a dash of brown sugar. The next two Hardin’s Creek Kentucky Series whiskeys will have different profiles based on where they were aged. “These were a great example to show the difference in terroir,” said Noe. “They tell three individual liquid stories, in my opinion.”
Hardin’s Creek Clermont will be available in limited numbers starting today at select retailers, but don’t be surprised if it’s priced at more than the $170 asking price. Future releases will be Frankfort (8/1/23) and Boston (9/1/23)—stay tuned, we’ll update you on what these whiskeys taste like when we can. In the meantime, you can find past Hardin’s Creek whiskeys available to purchase from ReserveBar.
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