Clyde May's Straight Rye Whiskey Review

Clyde May’s Straight Rye Whiskey

Meet Luke

Luke is a Level I Certified Whiskey Specialist with a passion for exploring and unearthing the best whiskeys around. Luke has a preference for Rye whiskeys but has tasted over 250 different whiskeys to date varying from bourbons to scotches. He continues to expand upon his whiskey knowledge by tasting dozens of bottles monthly and reviewing them here on Barrel and Brew as he pursues his Masters of Whiskey certification.

I’m always looking for new rye whiskeys to try, so when I cam across Clyde May’s Straight Rye Whiskey, I figured it would be my next to review. It was right in the price range I like, and the bottle’s light green and tan coloring looked appealing. Will this rye whiskey join the ranks of Sagamore Spirit and Laws Whiskey as my favorite? Or will it fall short of my high hopes?

In this Clyde May’s Straight Rye Whiskey review we’re going to discuss the tasting notes, price, and value of a bottle. Before we get there, though, were going to cover some basic history of Clyde May’s the whiskey and Clyde May himself.

Clyde May's Straight Rye Whiskey Review

Clyde May’s Whiskey History

Clyde May was born in 1922 – not the easiest time to be born. He was born to a single mother just a couple years before the great depression and just at the right (or wrong) time for the 2nd world war. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Clyde joined the army where he led the 77th Infantry Division. He earned both a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after sustaining injuries.

Following the war, Clyde began his life as a moonshiner. From 1946 to 1973, he spent his life crafting the finest spirits in Alabama before the law caught up to him. He spent only 8 months in prison, and as soon as he was released he started right up again.

Clyde May passed away in 1990, but in 2001 the whiskey brand known as Clyde May’s became a legal brand. Present day, Clyde May’s Whiskey is owned by Conecuh Brands, LLC. Conecuh Brands is in the process of building the Conecuh Ridge Distillery in Troy, AL where they will eventually distill Clyde May’s Whiskey.

Clyde May’s Straight Rye Overview

  • Whiskey: Straight Rye Whiskey
  • Owned By: Conecuh Brands, LLC
  • Distilled By: MGP
  • Aged: 4 years
  • ABV: 47%, 94 proof
  • Mashbill: Likely MGP’s 95% rye, 5 % malted barley

Clyde May’s is currently being distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and MGP – located there – is the largest supplier of rye whiskey. It’s probably safe to assume that MGP is the distiller, and they have only two rye mashbills. One is 51% rye, the other is 95%. I imagine it’s the later of the mashbills.

When Clyde May’s Rye was first released in 2018 it donned a 3 year age statement, but they’ve recently upped it to 4 years. Based on my tasting that I’ll soon get to and the reviews I’ve read of their 3 year bottle, the extra year may have done it a lot of good.

Clyde May’s Rye Tasting Notes

Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can get into the real reason you’re all here. Is Clyde May’s Rye good? What does it taste like? My favorite part… Let’s pour a glass and find out!

Nose: Oak and spice, minty and floral with a slight ethanol aroma.

Taste: Fairly floral with some light charred wood and rye spice. Some light green apple and graininess makes it’s way through as well. A decent mouthfeel. Not overtly thick, but not too thin either.

Finish: Mint and green apple fade into a light black pepper. At 94 proof there is a little bit of an heat to it, but nothing crazy.

Taste Summary

I have two opinions on Clyde May’s Straight Rye Whiskey, one neat and the other on the rocks. Neat – the whiskey can be a tad harsh. That’s not uncommon when it comes to rye whiskey at 94 proof, especially when there’s some alcohol and ethanol notes sitting around.

The addition of ice does wonderful things to this whiskey, though. The profile was a little too floral for me neat. However, the floral and green apple notes blend together much better, and the alcohol notes fade away.

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Ultimately, I’m a big fan of the taste and quality of whiskey that comes out of Clyde May’s Straight Rye. I think there are some things that hold it back from being at the top of my list, but it certainly gets an honorable mention nod from me.

Clyde May’s Straight Rye Whiskey Price

Price is also a large factor when it comes to the whiskey we buy and drink. I like the whiskey a lot, but does the price match what I’m getting? Let’s take a look. We compare prices from various Total Wine stores across the US to get an average price range for a bottle.

Clyde May’s Rye 750ml Price: $37-44

$40 isn’t the cheapest bottle out there, but it’s certainly not the most expensive either. It’s safe to say that it’s priced fairly. I always say that your best value comes in the $30-45 range. It’s the cheapest range where you still find very good whiskey. So, there isn’t value added by its price tag nor taken away.


Clyde May’s Straight Rye is a whiskey that has been added to my list. I will continue to buy it and drink it, and I recommend you buy a bottle, too. I’ve read a couple other reviews that were not so favorable, but a lot of those were reviewing the three year bottle. Perhaps the extra year helped, or perhaps this bottle isn’t for everyone. Rye whiskey is by far my favorite, and Clyde May’s is likely one of my top 5 favorite ryes for the price.

Clyde May's Whiskey Review

Clearly we enjoyed our bottle since we drank it all before taking our pictures

Clyde May’s Straight Rye Summary

Clyde May’s may source their rye whiskey from Indiana, but this is a brand built on the idea of one Alabama moonshinin’ man. So, it makes it all the better that Conecuh Brands is in the process of building their own distillery in Alabama. I respect it and hope to have their home distilled whiskey soon.

In terms of the whiskey inside the bottle, I’m a huge fan. With the addition of ice, the flavor profile becomes much more balanced and blended. The taste is better, and it doesn’t take away from the depth, complexity, or mouthfeel of Clyde May’s Rye. I may be partial to rye whiskey – especially rye that comes from MGP – but this is a good whiskey that I recommend you pick up.


Below are frequently asked questions regarding Clyde May’s Whiskey and their Straight Rye. Many of these are answered in the article above.

Who Makes Clyde May’s Whiskey?

The whiskey is distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana which means MGP is the distiller.

Who Owns Clyde May’s Whiskey?

Clyde May’s Whiskey is owned by Conecuh Brands, LLC.

How Do You Drink Clyde May’s Straight Rye Whiskey?

Neat or on the rocks works just fine – I think it’s a lot better on the rocks. Good rye whiskey is also perfect for a Manhattan and an Old-Fashioned.

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