62.45% ABV - Kentucky, USA
Nose: Deep red fruits soaked into oak, with wood spices. Very wood forward. The aromas intensify with added water. Some light floral or perfumes that seem to fade over time – probably from the high proof?
Taste: Fruits – plum, cherry, vanilla and spices (nutmeg, pepper, ginger). Moderate amount of woodiness, like cedar and sawdust. You could convince me of toffee and roasted nuts.
Finish: Fairly slow and drawn out with vanilla and cherry wood, and that heavy dash of wood spices again.
I have to admit that I’m not the biggest bourbon connoisseur so I expect that some of the nuances in George T. Stagg are lost on me. I don’t think that I have been able to distinguish the library of unique flavours I have seen in other reviews (though it comes more naturally to me with single malt whiskies – of course, I have tasted an overwhelming amount more than bourbon).
I think that it takes a lengthy sit to really appreciate all that this one has to offer. I have been playing with adding water, and this dram can really take it on without drowning it – 124.9 proof is not messing around. I suspect that this would have scored higher if I could find that perfect balance.
The first Stagg that I tasted was Stagg Jr. at a bar in Portland, Oregon (the Victoria Bar). I bought a bottle the day after! So then when I was travelling through Tennessee and I saw it’s older sibling on the menu – George T. Stagg – I was very excited to try it! That was the 2015 Release. And now, you must imagine my excitement when this bottle was won in the raffle for BC Liquor Stores Annual ‘Spirits Release’!
This whiskey was tasted side-by-side(-by-side) with Michter’s Sour Mash and Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year. I figured that since I do not drink bourbons very often (yes, or American whiskey), that I would write notes for all of them together! I think it really helped to pick out some of the nuances.
Details: Buffalo Trace Fact Sheet (Official). Distilled Spring 2003, Bottled Fall 2018. Bottle Code L18200015:377 (REF IA 5C VT 15C).
Tasting Notes (Official): Lush toffee sweetness and dark chocolate with hints of vanilla, fudge, nougat and molasses. Underlying notes of dates, tobacco, dark berries, spearmint and a hint of coffee round out the palate.
Tasted 11 June 2020. (Posted 13 June 2020.)