Clyde May’s takes inspiration from the story of Clyde May’s moonshine days in Alabama with their Conecuh Ridge style spirit which was essentially corn moonshine matured for a year in charred oak barrels with dried apples.
As for its modern avatar? Kentucky Bourbon Distillers stepped in to produce the bourbon, though the branding retained a nod to Alabama. Why? Simply put prior to 2013, it was illegal to distill spirits in Alabama! However once the laws changed, rumour has it plans were hatched to build a distillery in Troy Alabama with developments at “an advanced stage.”
But what about the bourbon?
Clyde May’s Straight Bourbon Batch CM0791 Recipe No 2 92 Proof 46%
- Colour – Caramel red gold
- Nose – Musty granary then mellows out, mild wood, ripe banana but not the typical bold bananas of a rough bourbon but instead a soft nuanced banana loaf, peaches, then brewed tea chilled to make ice tea with lemon slices, then the wood comes back on top, followed by apples… almost like a honey sweet apple brandy
- Palate – Back of the tongue banana, sweet, so much more interesting on the palate than we hand anticipated, honey and fruits, simply beautiful, mild and easy sipping
- Finish – Oolong tea, truly lovely finish
- Water – For those who gadded, found it became even sweeter, the fruits came out to the fore even more, burnt sugar with a nice peppery finish
The longer is sat in the glass, the more enjoyable the aromas. Particularly with the revisit, we found this a clear desert dram.
And with ice? Banana cream and baked apple pie, simply fabulous! Then shifts to orange blossoms and vanilla cream. However don’t let it get watered down… overly diluted it becomes sugar water and insipid. Instead, keep it topped up and enjoy!
As for paired with our bourbon soaked Gurkha? First half of the cigar was equally sweet and the Clyde May’s was a perfect complement. However by the time we got to the heavier spicier part of the cigar, this was no longer quite the right fit… instead we shifted to Bib & Tucker 10 year bourbon.
And what do the Clyde May’s folks have to say?
Aged 4 to 5 years in new 53 gallon oak barrels and is non-chill filtered. You get dried orchard fruits on the nose and spice on the palate. A full and smooth choice, best either on the rocks or in a May’s Manhattan.
- Appearance: Rich crimson.
- Nose: Soft and sweet on the nose with aromas of brown sugar, baked apricot, wild strawberry, and nutmeg.
- Palate: Wonderfully soft with complex aromas of barrel spice, fruit, and oiled leather.
- Finishes long and delicious.
When I reached out to what I could find for a contact of Clyde May’s, John Soden,
International Sales Director of Belfast Distillery Company Ltd/Conecuh Brands kindly stepped in to further share details about the bourbon:
- Mash Bill is 78% Corn, 12% Rye and 10% Malted Barley
- Char #4 barrels, non-chill filtered, aged for 4-5 years
While the Alabama element is adding apples, this can’t done with the straight bourbon we sampled for it to qualify as bourbon. They also clarified that while they have plans to build their own distillery, currently the whiskey is sourced with a “very strict set of criteria with regard to age/quality, production methods and ingredients.”
Bottom line, did we like it? Why yes we did!
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