Whiskies like George T. Stagg restore one’s faith in the romantic allure of the whiskey hobby. We’ve all been there, especially in the beginning. Back then, everything about the whiskey world was cool, our palates primed for trying new things, we soaked in information and mash bill details like sponges, and we even believed most of what a marketing department would tell us. Time goes on, and all of that goes away. We now find ourselves jaded with whiskey quality and pricing and instead buy a bottle or two of something we like and drink in our basements, cold and alone. Maybe that’s just me. However, from time to time, our inner bourbon spirit animal is revived and we feel bourbon young again when we sip George T. Stagg.
We will rely less on the general story of Stagg for the time being, since if you’re even reading this review you probably are a bit familiar with the mystique. We will instead talk about the wonderfully rich level of detail Buffalo Trace releases on this yearly component of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. For simplicity purposes, I will list in bullet point format some of the pertinent details of the production process that make up the 2018 Stagg:
- Year of Distillation: Spring of 2003
- Proof for Release: 124.9 proof
- Large Grain: Kentucky Corn; Distiller Grade #1 and #2
- Small Grain: Minnesota Rye
- Finish Grain: North Dakota Malted Barley
- Barrel: New, white oak; #4 char; charred for 55 seconds
- Warehouse: Warehouses C, H, I, K, P & Q
- Floor: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
- Evaporation Loss: 51.15% of the original whiskey lost due to evaporation
- Product Age: 15 years and 4 months old at bottling
Needless to say, any distiller that releases this much information on a release has much, much faith in it. We don’t get this with Monarch Bourbon. Let’s see how this year’s version fared with the crew…
Nose- Blackberry fruit and buttery vanilla. Strong, seasoned oak. Furniture polish. Wonderful. Peach, apricot. Cinnamon and cedar. Brown sugar. Black liquorice. Sweet pipe tobacco as it opens up. Mint and sagebrush.
Taste- Brown sugar. Warming. Strawberry and vanilla. Light mint and sage. Nice oak.
Finish- Smoldering. Leather and oak. Long and lingering. Vanilla with toasted sugar.
Comment- Let this one open up and take your time with it. Incredible. Bourbon excellence. Nothing less.
SWC Rating- 94/100