Review: George T. Stagg (BTAC 2018)

The past two Saturdays it has been my absolute pleasure to join Norbert at his Whisky4all stand at respectively Whisky in Leiden and Whisky in het Fort. Norbert stand is always a sure stop for people with a passion for American Whiskies, as he always makes sure to bring some truly amazing drams with him. Whether you prefer a Bourbon, a Rye, or an American Single Malt… Norbert has got your back! As a thank you for my help these past Saturday’s he gave me a whole bunch of samples, including this spectacular George T. Stagg!

Not Stagg Jr. no, the one and only George T. Stagg from BTAC 2018! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am that I get to taste this whisky, as it’s a near impossible bottle to get your hands at (and pricey if you do manage to get a hold of one). Named after one of the founding fathers of the Buffalo Trace distillery, this uncut bourbon has aged for 15 years! At 62,45% ABV it should come packed with flavours, so let’s dive right in and explore the pinnacle of Bourbon flavour!

Tasting Notes: George T. Stagg (BTAC 2018)
Stats:

ABV: 62,45% (124,9 Proof)
Age: 15 years old
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Owned by: Sazerac Company
Category: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Chillfiltered: No
Natural Colour: Yes (By law Bourbon is always natural colour)

Setting:

I’ve spent all day working on the menu for next seasons Explorers Pack, after which I felt like I deserved a proper good dram. So, I put on some Blue Note Jazz, kicked my shoes off and poured this George T. Stagg neat into my glass. While sitting comfortably in my airconditioned living room (as it’s very hot outside by Dutch standards).

Nose:

The first thing that comes to mind while nosing this dram is a pine forrest. A combination of pine resin and needles fill your senses with a longing for the shade of a forrest on a hot summers’ day. I’m also finding plenty of molasses, brown sugar and vanilla. Classical bourbon flavours one might say, but beautifully balanced out against those lighter notes of fresh pine. There are some Maraschino notes in there as well and as that’s a note that always makes my mouth water, I find myself eager to take my first sip.

Palate:

Intense is the first word that comes into mind on the palate. It truly does take me a moment to adjust to the intensity of this dram. Straight from the bat you can tell that there’s a lot going on here, but it takes a while to truly be able to discern all that is hiding in there. There’s dark chocolate covered caramel candy, sticky toffee, tree bark, Sweet Tea, home-made molasses thick enough to make your spoon stand up straight, and heaps of creamy porridge. There’s also freshly brewed espresso with a wooden spoon coated in dark brown rock sugar. And I’m sure that if I could keep going back to this dram time and time again, that I would find more flavours every single time.

Finish:

The finish is long and has a mellow lingering sense to it. At this age and ABV you might expect a much more impactful finish, but instead I find it rather sophisticated and well mannered. Which is in fact a huge contrast to the palate. The darker notes smoothly become softer, like a dark chocolate that slowly turns into a milk variant. And even some citrus and mint start to show up near the very end. Making this finish altogether rather unexpected. Unexpected but highly appreciated though, the contrast provided here is in one word lovely.

Verdict:

This is without a doubt the best Bourbon I have ever tasted, and I’ve managed to sample quite a few excellent ones thus far. There’s so much complexity here and the intensity of this dram is simply unparalleled. Now surely, I could have a discussion at great length whether this dram is worth it’s price tag. But that would not do this Bourbon justice at all. This is a once in a lifetime experience in a glass and I’m ever so grateful I got to experience this. Valuewise you can’t put a tag on that, but I will say that you’d be hard pressed finding a better Bourbon than this. Thank you so much Norbert for letting me taste this amazing dram!

Rating:

94/100

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