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Since this is my first actual blog post, I thought it would be fitting to pick a bourbon with real character that would give me a lot to talk about. No surprise that I chose the 2017 George T. Stagg from Buffalo Trace.
First, a couple of things to keep in mind. I am a rye guy. I love the bite that rye brings to bourbon so most of my favorite bourbons will have rye in the mashbill. This bottle is no exception. Second, I am also barrel-proof guy. For me, there is nothing better than drinking bourbon straight out of the barrel, uncut and unfiltered. That is exactly what you get with a Stagg bourbon. Finally, I think it is also worth noting that I am obsessed with Buffalo Trace, so you will likely see a lot of their bourbon on this page over time.
There is no age statement on this bottle, but according to Buffalo Trace this bourbon was distilled in Spring of 2002 and aged for at least 15 years on floors 1, 2, 3 and 6 of warehouses C, K, M, & Q at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfurt, Ky. The total age at the time of bottling is 15 years and 3 months. A total of 309 barrels were hand-selected for bottling.
The mashbill includes Kentucky corn, Minnesota rye, and North Dakota malted barley.
As I mentioned, this bourbon is uncut and unfiltered and comes in at a whopping 129.2 proof (64.6% abv).
One last fascinating piece of information: during the aging process, 54.03% of this bourbon went to the angels!
Appearance – dark orange amber.
Nose – vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and a spoonful of maple syrup.
Palate – This bourbon instantly warms your palate and hints of cherry, maple syrup, and spice are dominant. There is a subtle sweetness to this bourbon as the flavors continue to develop towards a rich array of dark chocolate and spice.
Finish – The spice lingers throughout the sip and ends with rich oak and leather that lasts for a surprisingly long time. There is almost no burn, despite the high alcohol content.
Overall – This bourbon has outstanding flavor and is far too easy to drink to be 129.2 proof. If you are at all dissuaded by the alcohol content, pour this over a big ice cube and wait 10 minutes or add a few drops of water to calm it down. I prefer this bourbon straight, but the flavor still packs a punch even with some extra water. The price tag is hefty (roughly $600-$800), but if you can find a bottle (and that’s a big “if”) you will not be disappointed. As much as I enjoyed this, the bottle will go back on my shelf for a long time. This is a special occasion bourbon for me!