Clyde May’s bourbon is a departure from their traditional Alabama Style whiskey because it contains no apples; it’s a straight bourbon. Clyde May coined, and trade-marked, the term Alabama Style Whiskey which is essentially a traditional bourbon that has oven-dried apples added to the barrels full of new-make. This is that traditional bourbon sans apples. This, like their traditional style, is a sourced bourbon and not distilled by the company themselves.
In the Distillery’s Words: Clyde May’s Bourbon
“Paying homage to Clyde May himself – a moonshine icon who made the best whiskey Alabama ever tasted – and his dedication to his craft, this non-chill filtered straight bourbon is a classic 5-year-old, easy drinking spirit. Using simple and traditional ingredients, the bourbon mash is patiently aged in heavily “alligator” charred new American oak barrels to produce exceptional flavors that feature a soft, sweet nose of brown sugar, baked apricot, wild strawberry and nutmeg. Its soft palate delivers complex aromas of barrel spice, fruit and oiled leather, while the finishes are robust, long and delicious.”
I tasted the “traditional” Alabama Style at a tasting a couple years ago and I remember liking it, but I don’t have any notes to compare it to. Though with how tasty this stuff is it might be worth picking up a bottle if it’s just this with some apples in it.
Before we dive into the Clyde May’s Bourbon review below I feel the need to say that this label has a deceiving layout that, because I didn’t read very carefully, I originally thought was distilled by them in Alabama. It’s not, it’s distilled in Kentucky which they do call out on the side of the label, but not on their site.
They could also do a better job of disclosing this and a create a less confusing label. I fell for because I didn’t read the small print and thought it was Alabama made, but it’s actually Kentucky made. They also need to change a LOT of their website copy. The story they tell definitely doesn’t fit with them sourcing instead of distilling. If Clyde May made a brand new still and was distilling the day he got out of jail then what’s their excuse?
Clyde May’s Bourbon Info
Region: Kentucky, USA
Bottler: Clyde May
Mashbill: Unknown (Original, sourced, “Alabama” bourbon is 55% Corn, 30% Rye, 15% Malted Barley)
Cask: New charred Oak
Age: 5 Years
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Clyde May’s Bourbon Review
Caramel corn, marshmallows, spice, vanilla ice cream, little bits of oak, dried cherries and an earthy undertone that reminds me of mushrooms. It’s a nice aroma for sure.
Caramel, vanilla, dried corn, peanuts, herbal spice, a light citrus and something that reminds me of root beer. As tasty as the aroma is nice.
Medium and dry peanut brittle, anise, peanut oil, pepper and mint.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Decent balance, medium body and mild easy sipping’ feel.
Clyde May’s Bourbon has a nice balance, especially to the aroma with the sweet and rustic notes aligning nicely. The palate is a bit heavier on the rustic notes, which I like, and after awhile the peanut notes on the palate grow and become even more pronounced. Overall it reminds me quite a bit of Henry McKenna, like it’s the missing link between Henry McKenna and the Henry McKenna 10 year Single Barrel Bottled In Bond. Which it might be.
Since it’s a sourced bourbon, and they’re not disclosing who it comes from or the mashbill of the straight bourbon, it’s entirely possibly it comes from Heaven Hill who is known to source bourbon for NDPs. It could also be form someone else, but seeing as how I first thought they distilled it themselves, due to being a slacker on the research, I think it’s likely to be some damn fine Heaven Hill bourbon in that bottle.
SCORE: 87/100 (B+)
Original Clyde May’s Bourbon review ending before I realized it was sourced:
It’s interesting to see craft brands like this putting out a well matured product that’s been handled in a traditional manner and to see just how good it is. There is so much going on here and it shows what can be achieved when short cuts aren’t taken and well honed processes and traditions are respected. Clyde May’s Bourbon is easily among the top of the craft bourbons out there.
*Disclosure: This Clyde May’s Bourbon was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Clyde May’s Bourbon Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 87
- Palate - 87
- Finish - 87
- Balance, Body & Feel - 87
Clyde May’s Bourbon is a really nice bourbon