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George T Stagg bottled 2012

The Four Hour Whisky!

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@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

18th Jun 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I've been wanting to try George T. Stagg ever since I heard about it. I'm a bourbon man, always have been. And from everything I'd ever heard this wasn't just the granddaddy of all bourbon, but more like a god of bourbon come down to earth in liquid form to please mere mortals.

Yah, I've wanted to try this for just a little while.

Now my wife and I had just finished a series of whisky and chocolate pairings at the local whisky bar, Helvetica, and I was left with one last dram to try. I'd already tried Dalwhinnie 15 yr old, Glenmorangie Qunita Ruban, Jameson 18 yr old, Aberlour Abunadh (Batch 36), Ardbeg 10 yr old, and after the chocolate tastings snagged a dram of the Ardbeg Day release.

When I'd first arrived at Helvetica we'd been a little early and when I saw that Helvetica had managed to snag a bottle of Stagg I KNEW I had to try it.

Now for the record I have no idea what release of Stagg this is due to the fact that the ABV listed on the website doesn't match up with any of the releases that I can find on Wikipedia. As you can see on the top of this review the ABV that I have listed is 74.3 and the highest listed on Wikipedia sits at 71.5 (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeorgeT.Stagg)

So at best I can only surmise that this is the 2012, OR as I suspect, a misprint on the website.

Now to the whisky!!

So I snagged a dram of Stagg for $25 AUS and went upstairs to where the chocolate and whisky tastings were going to be held.

While we waited I decided to start nosing the Stagg, dying of anticipation!

Oh my bloody god.

The smells coming out of this little glass of whisky were phenomenal. No other word, brilliant, stunning, exquisite, you choose the adjective, as long as it means bloody good you're on the right track. You just need to think of something more awesome.

The bourbon smells of oak, red vine licorice, cherries, vanilla, honey all combine with the high alcohol.

But that's not the only thing on the nose!

I get orange rinds, rye, peppermint, maple syrup, hints of bananas and pears.

Bloody Hell!

This is an insanely complex nose.

I patiently sit through the whisky and chocolate pairings. Enjoying them, but every so often I look longingly at my little dram of Stagg.

I didn't have as much time as I wanted to spend with all the whiskies so I sat there and gave each whisky roughly 15 to 20 minutes. Trying to save the maximum amount of time for the Ardbeg Day release and the Stagg.

The reason behind it was every other whisky I tried that night I knew I could easily find it and try it again when I wanted to re experience them.

Not so with either the Ardbeg or the Stagg.

Now while we're waiting for the tasting to begin my wife after nosing the Stagg decides to take a sip and is immediately knocked for a loop, like a scene out of a 70's Batman TV episode.


"Wow" she gasps to me.

"That is insane!" She whimpers.

"Good?" I reply timidly, worried that I might have got the first bad Stagg in history.

"No" she wheezes out.

She then decides to text our brother in law, who's been wanting to try Stagg forever that we'd just sat down to some Stagg.

Hahaha I love my evil wife.

I decide to take a cautious drop, and I mean a drop, as I didn't want to completely trash my palate for the main whisky tasting event.

A drop hits my tongue and it's like heaven has jumped up and down on my tongue. The flavors are indescribable, but hey that's my job right?

Cherries, oranges, peppermint candy, red vines, honey, vanilla, pears, oak, bananas, maple sugar, cinnamon, more spices, each one cries out to be heard.

Holy Sweet Baby Jebus!

And that's just a single little drop.

Just one.

After the main whisky event I went to my Stagg to explore it's awesomeness.

It is unbelievable. Each sip, each drop, a different flavor all calling out to be heard, all singing a lovely lovely song to the whisky gods in their honor.

The finish was INSANELY long with warmth filling my mouth and my stomach, showing me new flavors of oranges, honey, vanilla, cherries, peppermint all going down lovingly.

Jim Murray said in his 2012 Whisky Bible that it took him four hours to do his tasting notes, in a simplified form.

When I first read that I will be honest I scoffed.

I mean how can any whisky take four hour to do tasting notes on? I MEAN SERIOUSLY!

After tasting Stagg just once and seeing the complexity on it, the amazing balance, all I can say is I can EASILY see how it would take someone four hours to do the tasting notes on it for the first time.

And the thing about all this complexity, this balance is that the thing is bloody well near perfect. The only reason I'm not giving Stagg a higher score is because there is the possibility that I will encounter another whisky in my lifetime that I find to be more impressive.

The only flaw in the Stagg is the price point and availability. Right after this tasting I snagged a bottle for my brother in law for $240 AUS for his birthday. Now $240 AUS was CHEAP. And I snagged it for that price because I work for the owner of the company who sold me the bottle. I've sadly seen this bottle go for over $400 AUS over here. And that's when and if you're lucky enough to find it.

Related George T Stagg reviews


Jason0142 commented

From what I can find the strength of some of the yearly bottles are 2011 (71.3%), 2010 (71.5%), 2009 (70.7%). Not sure what batch had a strength of 74.3%, hopefully some of the guys on the sight with more bourbon prowess can help. Ether way the big GT Stagg is a bourbon thats pretty much top of my current whisky wish list.

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Totally belongs there my friend!

I can't find any mention of a Stagg at that strength so my gut feeling is that it's a typo on the bar's end. Easy for that to happen when you have so many whiskies. I'm hoping to snag a look at the bottle when I hit there in a couple weeks time and A) Find out if it was the bottle I had and B) Confirm it is the proofage listed.

8 years ago 0

Wills commented

After reading this I am a bit confused and I don't know if you like it or not... ;)

To be serious, I am eager to try this for a while and of course my desire is increasing thx to you Ash! I can't find a bottle with over 72% ABV, so maybe its indeed a typo. Did you taste the Stagg neat?

Btw in Germany I can find one for 150€, normally thats out of my range... Let's see!

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Hahaha I'm sorry if I was confusing Wills!

I LOVED the Stagg. It's an awesome, epic whisky. Nothing else describes it.

It is a whisky that just kept evolving and evolving and letting out more of it's secrets.

Awesome and complex I think would be the two best words to describe it.

I tasted it neat, however I did try adding water. I honestly didn't notice much difference between water and neat except with water it all felt weaker. However the time constraints could also play into that. I'd love to sit down with a bottle and try a few drams slowly adding just a drop at a time and seeing what that does.

I can only assume that the bar's information must be a typo. I'll confirm whether it is or not on July 4th when I visit again for another series of tastings.

I will be totally honest my friend it's one of the few whiskies I think is worth that massive price tag. A bottle would last one a LONG time. And my lucky brother in law was just given a bottle for his birthday by my wife and me before we snagged our own bottle which will occur sometime soon (I HOPE!!!)

8 years ago 0

Wills commented

Ya I was just joking in my first line, now I really confused YOU :)

Just a nice review, I have to taste this some time for sure!

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Hahahaha don't mind me Wills I'm a little dense at times as my wife will happily point out! :D

I'm just thrilled I was finally able to find a bottle of this in a bar over here. Just an awesome awesome whisky and I can easily see why it scored #2 whisky in the world this last year!

And once more thank you for the kind comments on the review :)

8 years ago 0

Jason0142 commented

Best bar story of all time, 2 nights ago me and a mate went to a bar and order a nip of GT-Stagg (2009 version). Got it for $10 (AU$) by a huge miscalculation on the bartenders part when it should have been $32. Continued to go back for 3 more nips each for $10 before the bartender looked at the back of the bottle where the bar had placed a sticky-note on the price per nip. Needless to say the poor bartender had the biggest "oh crap" moment of his life. Even though the 2010 version gets the biggest praise the nips I had where fantastic. My cravings for a bottle have been magnified to say the least.

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Haha you lucky buggers and that poor bartender!! He must of been freaking out! what did he wind up doing?

8 years ago 0

Jason0142 commented

We didn't ask for more nips after that because we knew he had realised his mistake. But you could just tell as he looked at the price per nip on the back of the bottle though body language that he was thinking "oh crap". Funny as hell. Poor bartender.

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Hahaha that poor guy. I've made a few mistakes like that before and you always feel like crap afterwards hahaha

8 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

I've just confirmed that the Stagg I tasted here is actually 71.3% and not the 74.3%. The bar misread the label. Still not sure what release it is though as I can say it's a radically different bottle from the one that I bought for my brother in law.

8 years ago 0

Victor commented

71.3% ABV = 2011 Release

8 years ago 0

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