It has been a few weeks since I posted a review. I have been traveling a lot, taking a vacation here and there (enjoying some sunny beaches and serene waters), and have been away from my bar and tasting glasses. But, I’m back now and it is time to get down to another review.
Every giant has a little bother. Today’s bourbon is no exception. Buffalo Trace has been admired, and scorned (by those left-out), for their BTAC (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection) line-up of whiskeys. George T. Stagg has been the king of that list. However, with the limited, once-per-year, allocation very few get to partake of the delicious fountain which is Stagg. So, in response to demand and the desire to make more profit, Buffalo Trace began releasing a younger, yet no less potent, version labeled as Stagg Jr. Instead of once per year, the Stagg Jr. line is released a few times per year. As far as I am aware there has been four releases to date. The one I review today is from Batch #3.
The first two batches received a lot of low marks. However, this third batch has been getting a little more praise. Yet, the reviews I have read still give this little guy some low marks because it is not like its bigger brother.
One, while I don’t fault the comparison, I don’t find the comparison entirely fair. Brothers are always going to have differences. Two, I think this bourbon can stand on its own. This is one fine bourbon. It’s young, it’s feisty. A young, high-proof bourbon is always gone to be more brash than it’s older, more mellow and matured brother. That’s just the way it is. Third, I am probably slightly naive in my conjectures because I have not been fortunate enough to partake of the elder Stagg. If someone would like to help educate me I would be greatly appreciative and I’m sure I would see the light, run from this mess, and join the throngs falling at the altar of the great and wise papa Stagg.
Anyways, on to the tasting…
Distiller: Buffalo Trace
Age: NAS (Rumored to be 8-9 Years Old)
Mashbill #: 1 – Low Rye
Cask Strength – Unfiltered
Batch #: 3
Dark, Burnt Amber
Chocolate covered cherries, oak, and varnish lead-off. Some caramel enters soon after. There is a slight alcohol burn (I always get more when I smell through my left nostril than when I smell through my right one). Butterscotch and burnt sugar enter in and mingle throughout. It reminds me of eating Werther’s Originals with my grandmother. There is a general spice smell at the end. Maybe cinnamon and/or nutmeg.
Spicy and sweet. Cherries and chocolate. Slight butterscotch and caramel in the background. The oak permeates throughout but is not overpowering. This is fairly well-balanced compared to what I had heard and therefore expected from this young gun.
Long. Spice fades to sweetness. Cinnamon fades to caramel and butterscotch which last for days,
This is a well-priced bourbon. While I don’t think I would have said this a few years ago, in the age of bourbons entering the market at $50, to be able to get an uncut, unfiltered little giant like Stagg Jr. at the same price point is a good deal. Of course, I’d love it to be in the $40 range. But, I would buy this one again for sure. If I can find another when I am done with this one I will be sure to pick it up.
This is a mighty fine tipple. It brings tons of flavor, a good amount of bite, is fairly well-balanced, and decently priced. I could not ask for much more. Except, maybe a shot at a bottle of the big brother at a decent price. For now, I will take this little guy and enjoy it until it is gone.
90/100 (An Excellent Tipple)