Stagg Jr. was a joy to see launched. Anytime an uncut, unfiltered, barrel proof bourbon aged nearly a decade by Buffalo Trace goes to market, any bourbon fan should be grateful. But of course, when you appropriate the mighty, beloved brand name of George T. Stagg and attach “Jr,” as sure as God made green apples you’re going to ruffle some bourbon enthusiast feathers. Released in 2013, Stagg Jr. claims the same mash bill as the elder Stagg but is pulled from different warehouse locations (makes a difference), and is batched together differently with barrels aged no more than 10 years. I remember reading the early reviews. I couldn’t possibly imagine how a bourbon with this makeup could sour with bourbon big shots, but its reception was so-so. My theory is the fact that some people couldn’t get past the very name “Stagg Jr.” and its implied inferiority or that they feared this early bottling would deplete future stocks of George T. Stagg. Both of which are not true, but perception is stronger than reality at times.
Because SWC is normally late to the party, we did not try this as a group until batch three, nearly three years in. I have tasted batch two and enjoyed it, and other members of the club are frequent purchasers of Stagg Jr. Today’s Stagg is bottled at a wimpy 66.05% ABV and is a blend of bourbons just under 10 years old. Uncut and unfiltered, this is about as rage filled as you can get for Kentucky bourbon. On to it…
Nose- Classic, big flavors of caramel and toffee candies. Brown sugar baked on an oak slab. Fruits of blackberries, dried cherries, cough syrup and Christmas cake. Pipe tobacco. Cinnamon. Dark chocolate with coffee. Great balance.
Taste- Largely a repeat of the nose with a full, cloying mouth feel. Big peppery spice.
Finish- Long. Huge heat, oaky. Barrel char with dark coffee. All spice, toffee.
Comments- Hot as living hell, needs water to fully enjoy. Wonderful, full flavor develops into a big hearted bourbon. And as a member noted during the meeting, this is the leather and chains of the bourbon world….woah.
SWC Rating- 89/100
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