George T. Stagg 2014
George T. Stagg 2014
138.1 Proof, aged 16 years 4 months
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
With the 2015 release of George T. Stagg coming out as we speak, it reminded me that I never reviewed the 2014 release, and honestly I don’t know why I’ve put off reviewing this bottle for so long. My buddies and I managed to get two bottles of Stagg last Fall, and one bottle of Eagle Rare 17 Year (see review here), and we loved both of them of course. It’s without question that Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection is some of the best whiskey being released in the entire world, and many think that George T. Stagg is the number one best bourbon of all time. So where do I stand on it? Let’s find out…
The nose is a funny one to me. This is Buffalo Trace product here, so I’m expecting a huge, fruit-forward nose, a total cherry bomb maybe, but I find it’s really pretty restrained at first. I have to let it sit in the glass and open up before I can name anything but “oak.” Here it comes though, patience pays off, it does open up, and it’s really nice. I get big charred wood, vanilla, and subtle caramel. Stale cherry cola, leather saddles in a barn (I’m being kinda funny here, but it really does make me think that, there’s a musty, dampness to it). There’s some pancakeyness to it too, maple and cinnamon, proofing sourdough bread. Pretty interesting and not classic Buffalo Trace, this is a cool, creative nose that makes you work for it.
The palate is, in contrast, very un-restrained. Flavor explosion! And it is a cherry bomb, very dark red and brown flavors. Delicious charred oak, Robitussin, leather, dry and sweet at the same time. A very long sweet and spicy finish, big and tannic. The word chewy comes to mind, it just lingers in your mouth like peanut butter on Mr. Ed’s lips, making you smack over and over, enjoying the flavors. It’s not as complex as one might expect, it’s just BIG. In all the right ways.
This is an incredibly high proof bourbon, but I recommend drinking it straight, at least for the first time. Adding water will help open it up I’m sure, but I wanted to explore this one as is, really work to pull out the beauty of the juice, and I think it was more rewarding that way. I know sometimes I can get a little too analytical, especially on the high end bottles, but this is a special bourbon that really should be enjoyed with intention and care. Just my opinion.
So overall, do I think this is the best bourbon in the world? Maybe. It’s definitely at the top of my list…and it beats the pants off of Pappy 23 Year, which of course resells on the black market for 3-4 times this bottle’s resale value (I’ve seen Pappy 23 for $1600…not that you can really compare two wildly different bourbons like these two, I just mention it because some people say that’s the best bourbon in the world too). You won’t ever walk in a store and see this on a shelf, it just won’t happen anymore, but if you are able to get your hands on a bottle of Stagg for $100 or under, by all means buy it. Pull it out for special occasions, share it with friends, drink it within about a year and don’t let it oxidize too much by trying to never finish an opened bottle. They make this stuff to drink after all.
Rating: 10 / 10 (I gotta give something a 10 right?)
Bought from a special lady somewhere in Tennessee for MSRP, somewhere around $80-90.