Clyde May’s Special Reserve Alabama Style
Aren’t American Non Distiller Producers great? The Clyde May’s Special Reserve Alabama Style whiskey, isn’t even produced in Alabama. Nope, that part is outsourced. It is currently made in Kentucky, for the most part. Also, its headquarters is located in Long Island, New York. The good news however, is that there are actual plans to build a distillery near Troy, Alabama.
What actually is Clyde May’s whiskey, you ask? The official marketing story goes that it was created by Clyde May, an Alabama farmer and war hero, in the 1940s. He was a moonshiner too, and eventually added oven dried apples to his barrels for extra smoothness. Thus he created Alabama Style whiskey. In 2004 it was even designated the official State Spirit of Alabama by legislative resolution.
So actual oven dried apples? Well, probably not anymore. It doesn’t seem as if the whiskey that carries Clyde May’s name today, is treated with real oven dried apples. Apparently, it is flavored with apple juice.
Clyde May’s Special Reserve (55%, OB)
Nose: Apple cider and apple juice galore, with a whisper of caramel and brown sugar, and some baking spices too. It has a certain meatiness to it, as well as a hint of glue.
Taste: Like a sticky, caramel glazed red apple. Lots of butter, and toffee, and stewed apples. This is clearly not your average whisky. Slightly nutty, with hints of cinnamon.
Finish: Lingering apple juice and warming spices.
Certainly a fun spirit, even though a bit odd. It holds the middle between an apple brandy and a decent high-strength bourbon. But the balance is there, and it is quite rich as well. Certainly worth a try if you ever come across it.
Photo: The Whisky Exchange
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.