Skip to main content

Review: Clyde May’s Slammin’ Alabama Bourbon

clyde may's
Open up almost any book about whiskey in America and you’re bound to find at least a few tales of moonshiners who worked hard to create a quality product while constantly trying to evade the law.

Some moonshiners were successful, hiding their stills deep in the mountains or woods. Some weren’t so lucky. Clyde May, an Alabama moonshiner who was active from around the 1950s through the 1980s, was not one of the lucky ones. He ended up serving time for moonshining.

This is the story that Clyde May’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey starts with—a moonshiner whose motto was “It’s better to break a few laws than cut a few corners.” In his time, May handcrafted his own stills and worked with the best ingredients he could find.

Flash forward a few decades and, as a way of honoring his father’s memory, Kenny May created Clyde May’s whiskey, legally producing “Alabama Style” whiskey (a style created by his father and characterized by the addition of oven-dried apples to new barrels of bourbon).

Their latest release, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, is not given the “Alabama Style” treatment. Instead, it abides by all the laws that govern bourbon.

Nose: On the front, there are spice and vanilla notes. These are underpinned by oak and a hint of honeyed apples, despite there not being apples added to this whiskey.

Palate:  Caramel sweetness blends with dryer oaky notes. These dryer notes make me think of the term “Old School,” though trying to explain that, I admit to being at a loss. Vanilla and a little bit of peanut brittle come through and are followed by a hint of baking spice.

Finish: Medium length and fairly dry. Toffee and peanut notes mix with a little bit of black pepper.

Final Thoughts: Getting back to the idea of story, it takes a little time staring at the highly-stylized (and very aesthetically appealing) bottle to see that the bourbon is not distilled in Alabama, but is instead sourced from Kentucky and bottled by the Conecuh Ridge distillery, which is located in Florida. The idea of it being Alabama whiskey is a fabrication, but one that works to continue the story of the man it is named after. If story does not impact your perception of a spirit and you are merely looking for a good-tasting bourbon (and one, because of its 46% ABV that would do well in a cocktail), then this is a good place to start if you’re looking for a bourbon that’s not “from” Kentucky.

Clyde May’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey is 46% ABV and retails for around $50.

Editors' Recommendations

How to make a caipirinha, a perfect day drink
Caipirinha: This refreshing and sweet Brazilian cocktail is amazing and a surefire hit


Novo Fogo Cascadian-Caipbeerinha.

Read more
Warm up with these 10 stellar Tiki cocktails
From tropical fruit to vibrant colors, these delicious Tiki drinks will knock your socks off
mai tai

Tiki culture is a wealth of riches, not to mention elaborate drinks. For the out of touch, it's mere escapism, a way to feel like you're somewhere warm and cozy. But for those in the know, Tiki is an art form, a genre, an entire culture.

It all began in the South Pacific and gradually spread to famous hotel bars and, ultimately, the best recipe books. Yes, it's a vacation in a glass, and that glass might just be a pineapple, coconut husk, shared bowl, or Tiki mug, but it's also a category of some of the most interesting drinks on the planet (with a devout following, we might add).

Read more
The 5 best Irish food recipes for a tasty St. Patrick’s Day feast
From classic corned beef to comforting barley risotto, these Irish food recipes will have you reaching for seconds
ButcherBox corned beef brisket with aromatics on wooden board.

Saint Patrick's Day, a holiday that's usually filled with fun drinking and cocktails, is also a great time for some seriously good Irish food. After all, what sounds better than getting together with loved ones and friends over an Irish-inspired feast? Besides classic corned beef, there's also an endless number of dishes to make for Saint Patrick's Day, ranging from sausages to modern takes on risotto. To celebrate this Saint Patrick's Day, The Manual has collected five amazing recipes that are both hearty and delicious, a perfect combination to celebrate this festive holiday.
ButcherBox corned beef brisket recipe

Probably the most iconic Irish food recipe for Saint Patrick's Day in America, a properly made corned beef is a surefire crowd-pleaser. This corned beef recipe is from Yankel Polak, the head chef of ButcherBox, a B Corp Certified meat brand delivering high-quality, sustainably sourced meat and seafood right to your door. Customers can choose from four curated boxes or handpick a custom box for their delivery needs.

Read more