Ten years ago, bourbon distilled in Alabama was unheard of. When we reviewed the original Conecuh Ridge release from Clyde May’s in 2013, we had to explain that good bourbon didn’t come exclusively from Kentucky and that whiskey made in Alabama deserved a try. Happily, those days are long gone. Today, Clyde May’s is a well-known and popular distillery offering a range of whiskeys that we have enjoyed for years. Today we sample the new Conecuh Ridge release from Clyde May’s. It has been released to commemorate the opening of the Conecuh Ridge Distillery in Troy, Alabama, which will be the new home of the distillery’s operations. This release is five years old, non-chill filtered, and bottled at a respectable 100.6 proof.
Despite the higher proof, the bourbon shows a fairly restrained nose, offering gentle notes of lightly roasted peanuts, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and just a touch of astringency. On the palate, though, it bursts to life. Roasted peanuts and vanilla come roaring out of the glass first, with rich caramel joining them midpalate. A bit of an alcohol burn comes along for the ride, but it seems to fit the whiskey’s bold flavor profile. Brown sugar appears a little late in the game and stays for the finish, which is fairly long. Adding water integrates and rounds off the flavors, and some people will prefer to do so, but I find myself enjoying this whiskey most when I sipped it straight, all guns blazing. For a higher proof, five-year-old whiskey, this is very well put together and fairly affordable to boot.
A- / $50 / clydemays.com