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My brother in law's birthday is coming up and I decided a few weeks ago that I had to get him an awesome birthday present.
I had called him up and gave him the option of whisky or beer as he does enjoy both.
He opted for whisky.
I knew that he'd wanted to try Stagg for months now and my sister store (I run a wholesale boutique beer store) had just decided to import whisky specifically high end bourbons (I'm forbidden to by my license otherwise I so would!) and they'd just gotten a bottle of Stagg.
But a problem first.
I had to pay down my whisky debt at the store before I could snag the bottle. So I scrapped and pinched pennies and finally got my account paid off.
I then called them up and asked them if they still had The Stagg.
I asked them to put it aside until I could snag the bottle the following day.
End of work the next day I rush over to our sister store and burst through the door.
"Stagg! I need it!!"
At which point the guy behind the counter looks at me in surprise and possibly a wee bit of fear.
"Sorry sir, but we're out of ..."
"I'm Squidgyash. I'm here for the Stagg"
Pant pant pant.
"Ah no worries! Here you go" he says in some relief that I won't eat him if he doesn't have my bottle for me.
Fast forward a few weeks and I've already given my brother in law his bottle of Stagg for his birthday and all of a sudden it's my birthday!
I send out a general invite last minute as I decide to crack open some good beers to see if anyone would care to join my wife and me for a drink.
My brother and sister in law say they'll be there!
When they arrive at the house my brother in law looks at me and grins then holds out the Stagg.
"I figured we'd crack it open tonight seeing how it's our birthdays!"
I was going to crack open a new bottle or two but nothing along the lines of the Stagg.
We sit down for a nice yummy beer and wait for pizza, once dinner is done we're cracking the Stagg!
We eat the pizza while watching Die Hard (YAH BABY!!) and then we crack The Stagg!
My brother in law pours me a hefty dram and then one for himself.
We start nosing the drams and what wafts up is lovely lovely bourbon, but not quite the same as the first Stagg I tried.
No big surprise as I'm pretty sure that the release I got from the bar was a different one from the current bottle.
So as I nose the glencairn some lovely aromas of oak, cherries, vanilla, maple, toffee, mint and hiding in the background, just the faintest whiff of bananas.
Damn Stagg makes a bloody complex whisky, but now for one of the funnest parts.
Now as I take a taste the first thing that you'll notice is a wee bit of alcohol burn.
Not surprising considering that this is over 70% ABV which makes it extremely powerful!
But it doesn't taste like you're drinking 140+ proof whisky. The alcohol never dominates the flavor profile.
Instead what you taste is cocoa, mint, orange rind, cinnamon, clove, and oak.
Now I'm sure that there is probably more then that flavor wise but I didn't add any water so the Stagg was drunk neat. I'd be curious what a wee bit of water would throw into the picture.
Cocoa is the strongest aspect in the flavor profile with the mint following close behind. Not bad. First time I've ever had a chocolate bourbon I think I can safely say. The rest of the flavors appear slowly as you taste the Stagg.
The finish is standard Stagg length which means LONG, INSANELY YUMMILY LONG! Lots and lots of that cocoa with some spices lingering along with the oak.
This whisky feels like you could practically chew on it. Awesome awesome mouth feel, rich and full!
My brother in law tried his and looked over and just went "That's a really good whisky" and as I look on his Facebook page right now he's posting
"I think George T Stagg is the best whiskey I've tasted. Rich, complex, and strong - thanks Squidgy+Ash for the gift (where's the review already Squidgyash damn)"
This is an AWESOME whisky by anyone's measure, not quite as good as the first one I tried, but still bloody good.
However all of this goodness comes at a price. This is NOT a cheap whisky. I'm not going to say how much it does cost just in case my brother in law reads this review, but I will say that the cheapest one I've seen was a good deal more expensive then $200 AUS. After that the price can easily shoot up to $400 AUS IF you can find the bottle over here.
Does that mean you shouldn't buy a bottle of this?
Like I said one of the best bourbons out there, bar none and fully deserves it's reputation as one of the best whiskies in the world.
Rich, complex, balanced.
Can I have some more please brother?