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Buffalo Trace Stagg Jr.

Happy Fourth of July!

2 589

@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

4th Jul 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Having just reviewed a trio of bottom shelf bourbons, I felt obligated to do a review of something that better represents the best of what America has to offer.

I’ve tried, reviewed and enjoyed 2 previous batches of this bourbon. A few weeks ago @OdysseusUnbound brought my attention to the fact that this one had made it to the LCBO, and with very few listed, I got a friend of mine in London to buy it and hold it for me. He’s a non-drinker, so getting him into an LCBO and having staff hunt this down was a bit of a gong show.

Then @Newreverie posted his review, and almost simultaneously some appeared at a store near me. @paddockjudge contacted and asked me to pick up two for him. That would have left one, and it would have been lonely, and the price of bourbon was about to go up due to tariffs taking effect July 1, so on June 30 I brought all three home, and could not contain my excitement, opened and tasted it. 3 days later I am reviewing from an almost full bottle.

This expression, tasted in a Kentucky Bourbon Glass, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 22.5/25

Wow! Rich, strong nose. I get some brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, light syrup and a cherry note that has not been as prominent in previous batches. Some baking spices in the background. Water dampens some of the heat, makes the cherry and baking spices more prominent, but everything else remains there in the background. (23/25) Great Nose!

Taste: 22/25

An explosion of flavour. Sweet, cherry soda. Vanilla, molasses on the development. Spicy. So rich that it’s hard to tease out any complex notes. Water makes it effervescent, more spirity.


Dry, astringent, oaky. Hint of molasses. Slight pepper. Fairly long. Water adds cherry to the oak in the finish.

Balance: 22/25

The nose and the palate are consistent. There I full flavour in this one. The strength masks any complexity that might b there, and the water I added was likely not enough to lower the ABV to be able to discern more complexity.

Score: Neat - 88.5/100 With Water: 89/100

This is a cask strength cherry bomb.

This is a great bourbon. I am very happy I have a second bottle that will eventually make its way to my home. I don’t think that comparing it to the previous batches I’ve tried is fair. This one has a significantly different profile, with a lot more cherry than the others.

I have a little left of my first bottle (65%), and plenty of my second bottle (64.75), and I very much look forward to a H2H2H sometime in the future. I will definitely report back.

@Newreverie, I’ll need to compare this to what I have left of my Booker’s 2015-04, which I haven’t tried in a couple of months, but I think I get what you’re implying. Thanks for the inspiration.

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Victor commented

@Nozinan, thanks for your very nice review.

I am glad to see that Stagg Jr has been putting out well-received batches since that very first poorly received one. I still have an unopened bottle of that first batch of Stagg Jr. Probably opening that one up would be a good idea, because a lot of air will probably do good in that case.

I have left many bottles of Stagg Jr sit unsold on shelves, even though I have tasted and reviewed some very good ones. Why? I have a lot of bourbon already, and even though I have tasted very good Stagg Jr. I still feel burned by that first batch.

2 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

@Victor Thanks for your comment. So far, I'm lucky never to have tasted a batch I didn't like. I've score the first 88 and the other two 89, though without a triple H2H the numbers are not as helpful. I know I thought the 64.75% batch (?8) to be slightly better than the 65% (batch 7?).

I would be interested in trying a fresh pour of the batch that you didn't like and compare it to these others. It would be very educational.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

Victor commented

I do get excited at the prospect of cherry flavour in a barrel-strength bourbon!

As for the first batch of Stagg Jr. I brought some to Toronto which was tasted by about 11 of us the night before you first met @Paddockjudge. No one liked it, at all. They disliked it more than I did. @Nock, however, who is very tolerant to lots of bitter tannin, loved it. I swapped my second of three bottles of Stagg Jr, Batch # 1 to him for a bottle of Willett 2 yo Rye. I was happy. He was happy.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

paddockjudge commented

@Victor, gotta love @Nock! I swapped Ardbeg Ardbog (purchased for me, by you, in 2014. It sat on your shelf until this spring...thank you!) for Laphroaig Lore with @Nock. He was happy, I was happy. During our recent extensive tasting sessions @Nock and I realized that our palates are diametrically opposed. This is fantastic as we can consistently predict the other person's reaction based on our own preference.

2 years ago 3Who liked this?

casualtorture commented

I'll have to seek this new batch out now. My bottle from last fall is already half empty! And I love cherry!

2 years ago 0

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