Clyde May’s Rye is aptly named after Clyde May who was an Alabama farmer. May had a storied history as being a talented moonshiner in the mid-20th century, refining his craft over the years and ultimately spending time in a federal penitentiary because of this. Known for his usage of oven-dried apples, May would add these to his barrels during the aging process resulting in a distinctive flavor profile. In 2001, May’s son recreated his father's recipe and legally began distilling Clyde May’s.
The bottle of Clyde May’s Rye itself sports a green and white label, which is representative of the colors in Clyde’s prison cell. While the whiskey is currently sourced, the company announced plans in late 2017 to open a distillery in Troy, Alabama. Construction has been delayed, with groundbreaking now expected to start in early 2020. The bottle being reviewed is from Batch 003 and its label states it’s aged a minimum of 3 years.
Youthful hints of sweet vanilla, corn, light rye grain, green apple, and ripe honeydew. The scents work as a nice way to start the sip, however the youth of the whiskey is more prevalent than I would have preferred.
Lightly charred oak, green peppercorn, and green apples mix with sweeter flavors of vanilla, syrup, and hints of toasted brown sugar. The spice is more noticeable in the sip versus the nose, however it comes across as slightly unbalanced.
Fresh baked bread, corn, and sweet vanilla all lay on top of a lingering rye spice note. The spice lasts for a surprisingly long time and is one of the highlights of the sip.
Clyde May’s Rye first attempt into the rye market for the brand leaves a lot of room for growth. Its higher proof allows for a nice variation in flavors to come forward. However in this case, the variation in flavors can come across as unbalanced and don’t play as well against the youthful undertone that are found throughout. As the brand switches from sourced to in-house distilled whiskey in the coming years, it will be interesting to see how the flavor profile changes over time.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Conecuh Brands. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.