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George T. Stagg 2010 Distiller: Buffalo Trace Spirit: Cask Strength Bourbon Price: $78.60 ABV: 71.5%
Nose: Heavy notes of oak, vanilla, spice, ripe bananas, maple syrup, molasses, dark brown sugar, dried fruits
Taste: Vanilla, ripe bananas, dried figs, raisin, molasses, spice, oak, and there is a dark cola flavor that lurks in the background
Finish: About as long as “long” gets. Heavy spice, oak, sweet maple candy
Cocktail: I feel guilty making a drink with this, but then again, my manhattan makes me want to run down the street, hugging and kissing everyone I see. You might try a cocktail, just to see how good it is (add a little water since this is such an incredibly strong bourbon), but frankly, you really only do it justice when you sip it neat or straight.
Bottle: As with all the bottles in Buffalo Trace’s “Antique Collection,” George T. Stagg comes in a tall, slender bottle with minimal, white, elegant, old-fashioned-style lettering on the front. The liquid is the focus, as well it should be; the crystal clear bottle shows off the dark, rich mahogany color. There are a set of deer antlers right about the lettering which adds a nice distinction from the others in the series; at the very bottom lies a paper label with that specific batch’s alcohol content. Overall, it’s a simple bottle, that is neither overly beautiful, nor underwhelming.
Conclusion: Richard: Where do I start with this one? I guess the first thing that most people notice is that this bourbon packs an enormous kick; at 143% proof, it is the strongest whiskey I’ve ever heard of, but even so, it remains remarkably smooth (considering its proof). I knew I was in for something special when I bought this bottle, but I wasn’t quite sure what was going to be special about it. Was it the incredibly complex nose? Or perhaps roaring flavor that lasts on your tongue? Simply, it is a combination of these two things mixed with the fact that they were able to produce such an incredibly delicious bourbon at such a high proof. I find it hard to compare this to any other bourbon because the experience of drinking it by itself is truly unique, and it shines a light on the many possibilities available in bourbon production. This comes out once a year as a special release, and I am going to make certain that I get at least one bottle next year. This is truly an outstanding spirit.