Close this search box.


Whiskey Review: Clyde May’s Cask Strength Straight Rye Whiskey

Tasting Notes:


Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs. 

Clyde May was a moonshiner, once the most wanted in Alabama. He worked out of the Conecuh ridge, which now gives its name to the distributor of Clyde May’s Alabama style whiskey, Conecuh Brands. It only fits for a whiskey displaying this level of Americana to be the official state spirit of Alabama. It’s also the official whiskey of Talladega Speedway and the official bourbon of the New York Islanders. So, with all that in mind, let’s talk about a whiskey distilled in Canada.

While they take their name from a ridge in Alabama, Conecuh Brands is a New York based brand incubator. While the Conecuh Ridge Distillery was originally founded by Clyde May’s son, Kenny, it was out of his hands when an investment group purchased the distillery and naming rights were in 2009 and recapitalized in 2014. The whiskey also comes from Canada before receiving a thoroughly American branding. The other whisky in their portfolio, McConnell’s Irish Whisky, is a recent restoration of a brand that had been defunct for 90 years.

Attaching historic identities to new products is a pretty common practice at this point. Any bottler knows their product needs a way to stand out in a market this crowded. To their credit, Conecuh only seems to be bottling Canadian spirits as a temporary measure, as they have broken ground on a distillery in Troy, Alabama. This also shows some experimentation, as it uses the novel method of seeping American Oak, Cherry Wood and French Oak wood chips while finishing the whiskey.

While it will be some time before this “Alabama style” whiskey is Alabama-distilled, it does seem that the name of Clyde May is leading whiskey production back to Alabama. It’s a circuitous path, but I don’t mind taking the scenic route if this whiskey can deliver on quality.

Clyde May's Cask Strength Straight Rye review
We review Clyde May’s Cask Strength Straight Rye, a sourced rye whiskey using a novel method of seeping American Oak, Cherry Wood and French Oak wood chips for finishing it. (image via Taylor Shiells/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Clyde May’s Cask Strength Straight Rye Whiskey

Vital Stats: 47.5% ABV. Mash bill: 100% Rye. 105 Proof. MSRP 89.99 USD.

Appearance: Amontillado Sherry

Nose: The nose opens very woody, with the lightness of sawdust or pencil shavings. As I can go deeper into the scent, I pick out a woody vanilla and hints of peanut.

Palate: The peanut is more prominent on the tongue, and gains a fruity note of crisp fig. The taste of vanilla is there, but it’s the artificial vanilla that comes from the strong woody body of the taste. As I move into the finish, it takes on a somewhat oily quality that tastes like peanut butter. Combined with the rye taste and lingering fruitiness, the effect is just barely reminiscent of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Taylor Shiells

Taylor is a writer, researcher, and whiskey enthusiast. He came to Portland in pursuit of higher education, and found himself staying to pursue the Pacific Northwest's wide range of olfactory offerings. He's a fan of craft beer, farm to table food, indie perfume, and, most of all, whiskey. While he provides technical research to the entertainment industry by day, the Whiskey Wash gives him the opportunity to explore his passion, hone his palate, and practice a more flavorful form of writing.

All Posts
  • Latest News
  • Latest Reviews