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George T Stagg bottled 2011

Chewy Stagg 2011

0 1895

@VictorReview by @Victor

1st Nov 2011

0

  • Nose
    25
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    23
  • Balance
    24
  • Overall
    95

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

George T. Stagg bourbon is approximately 15 years old, and is bottled uncut and unfiltered. It is one of the five whiskeys from the Sazarac Antique Collection, which are released once each year in the fall.

Nose: Exquisite, and flawless. Strong rich wood tones emphasizing maple and also harmonizing discreet rye spices. There is some alcohol noticeable in the nose, which I personally like.

Palate: Neat, there are thick chewy wood flavours which taste a little bound up compared to the Stagg 2010 release. The maply wood flavours are intense, and the rye spices remain strong. A little water brings this out very nicely, and I find the addition of water to be much more important for the 2011 release Stagg than for the 2010 release expression. These "bound up" palate flavours seem to me to be of the sort that often open up and blossom extremely nicely after the bottle is open a period of weeks to months. I have not yet had the opportunity to observe that for this release, however. As always, George T. Stagg manifests a veritable cornucopia of flavours, and does so with great intensity.

Finish: the usual long intense Stagg flavours remain for a very long and flavourful finish, as in previous releases. Delicious. As with the palate, I like the finish better after there has been a little water added.

Balance: Another delicious George T. Stagg, maybe not quite equal to the 2010 release, but very highly desirable, and beyond the pale of the experience of most whiskies. With water added, the balance is once again excellent. I am very enthusiastically looking forward to how this whiskey ages in the open bottle.

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18 comments

@smokeybarrels
smokeybarrels commented

Excellent and informative review as per usual, Victor, I'm trying to get my hands on a bottle of this but it's a rare as hen's teeth on this side of the pond it would seem. Full marks for the nose- that must be something special. My relative inexperience has probably led to me looking at high alcohol contents and expecting that to result in a very difficult to drink and stomach whiskey. It would appear that this is not the case at all. Good work..

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@smokeybarrels, thank you. I hope that you will enjoy the George T. Stagg when you get a chance to try it. I do recommend a little water with the 2011 Release, not really for the alcohol, but to bring out the flavours. Last year's release, the 2010 release, 143 proof/71.5% ABV, is the one which Jim Murray recently named 2012 Second Finest Whisky in the World.

7 years ago 0

@yalc
yalc commented

Victor, Thanks for another excellent review. I have tried this release, my first Stagg, and the things that impressed the most were the lush feel on the palate, the super long finish and how smooth it is at barrel proof. An amazing whiskey. Given the smoothness, I did not think to add a few drops of water so I need to go back and try that.

7 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

Hi @Victor, I enjoyed reading your take on George T ... didn't find any this year, but still have a couple unopened 2010 bottles. So now that you've had the finest ... so now where does one go !? :)

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@AboutChoice, the beautiful thing about being a whisky hobbyist is that outstanding new whiskies are being aged and readied for us even as we "speak"!

7 years ago 0

@HP12
HP12 commented

Another masterpiece of a review Victor. I was looking forward to your GTS 2010 / 2011 side-by-side tasting and you did not disappoint. It's full steam ahead to procure bottles of 2011 GTS to go with my 1 bottle of 2010!

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Thank you, @portwood! It is good to have the details.

7 years ago 0

@HP12
HP12 commented

Yes, thank you @portwood for the GTS fact sheet. I wish more distilleries would provide similar information on each of their special expressions.

7 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 commented

In a first for the LCBO, the Stagg is being released in Ontario. As pointed out in a discussion thread on the WWW forum, the bottling runs for Stagg appear to have been increased over the past couple of years where there is now a little more than double the bottles for Stagg vs. the other Sazerac Antique Collecton bottles. A CAN$104 bottle price (compared to the US$70 suggested retail price in the US.) is not out of line for the LCBO for mark-ups of US bottles.

I am eagerly awaiting a US-procured bottle of what appears to be a top shelf offering (though at 71.3% abv, best to keep this one away from open flame!!). :)

7 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Can't wait to try it!

7 years ago 0

@stevesmyth30
stevesmyth30 commented

I cant find this anywhere. I had a bottle of 09 I think it was and it was in my top 5 best bourbons ever. Its on my wish list...and I fear it will be for some time now. I know the 09 I had was like a nice rare steak fresh off the grill. I am not "whiskey educated" enough yet to quantify that, but it was like a great Cabernet...when you know its quality before you even sip it. But once you sip it....oh once you sip it! its amazing that this juice is 140 proof...it just doesnt have any harshness to it at all. Dont get me wrong, there was that old, familiar burn that I love so much, but it was warmth, not harshness for me. The palate to me, was how sandalwood smells. That distinctive woody smell thats not overpowering is what this tasted like sitting on my tongue. I think this is maybe my novice nose and palate detecting the rye, combined with the wood?? Victor, not sure about this barrel, but the 09 version I had, had legs like a woman's volleyball player. it sat in the glass, and on my tongue for what seemed like minutes. I never even added water, but I am kicking myself now for not trying it..i was so afraid of adding water to such an amazing pour. I will be looking everywhere for this bottle...my last one was amazing, and from the looks of it, it continues on.

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@stevesmyth30, usually in the US to get Stagg, Sazerac 18, or William Larue Weller, you have to find a store manager with an allocation who is willing to reserve some for you in advance of its October-November release each year. Nowadays I would estimate that the majority of the bottles of those whiskeys are pre-reserved in many markets. Start making friends with the managers at the better stores and start in about August inquiring about the fall Sazerac Antique Collection whiskeys release and whether they are willing to reserve some for you. You may not get everything you want, but if you make multiple contacts and check around a lot, are friendly and very politely persistent, you are most definitely likely to get some.

Is George T. Stagg 'leggy'? Yes. And I think that 'sandalwood' is a pretty good descriptor for it.

7 years ago 0

@frodgers
frodgers commented

I think it is only going to become increasingly difficult to obtain. I get it every year through my family relationship (George Stagg was my Great, Great Grandfather) with the distillery, and have accumulated about 60 cases of it since the initial release in 2002 when he was posthumously inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame. I grew up in Frankfort and knew Elmer T. Lee and most of the folks involved in what is now, the Buffalo Trace Distillery. I've got bottles of the Stagg whiskey that pre-date prohibition -- although they are largely evaporated. I would be interested in selling some of the bottles, as I cannot possibly consume everything I have. I have bottles from every year the brand has been produced and they have been well kept in my wine cellar.

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@frodgers, thank you for your comments. It is an honor to have a George Stagg family member in our Connosr club. If I am in your area I will drop a line. I'd love to see your collection.

6 years ago 0

@jerryclyde
jerryclyde commented

I just finished the last drop of the 2011 release. After reading your review, I feel that it is pointless to add anything more - you hit it right on the head. This is a bottle that my younger son gave me for Father's Day in 2012 and I've been nursing it ever since. The only thing that I might add is that my son wrote on the back label, "Distilled in 1993" - where he got this information I have no idea, but I did notice that one of the responders to your review mentioned that the 2011 release was an 18 year old bourbon (the math works out at least) and explains that firm oaky backbone.

Just something in passing. I've been saving that last drop of Stagg to celebrate the birth of my granddaughter, Nika. My son and his wife live in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan and we have often remarked what a nice name Nikka would be for a girl (if indeed they had a daughter). Ever time I go back to Sapporo we make a trip out to Yoichi to the distillery (I think my favorite distillery) taking the train along the beautiful coast along the Sea of Japan. It is quite the trip. When Urara and may son announced that they were going to have a daughter, we put plans into motion. Apparently "Nikka" and "Nika" are pronounced similarly in Japanese, but the Kanji for the two names are very different. My son and his wife knew that her mother would not want to have her daughter named after a distillery, but all was not lost. By simply dropping one of the "k's" (in the Latin Alphabet) you get Nika which is Japanese for "smile" (at least I am told). So here's to Nika Chan!

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Congratulation! As my don lies sleeping next to me I know that I can't wait to be a grandfather, but that it's probably at least 25 years away...

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

That is, my son. I don't have a don.

3 years ago 0

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