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George T Stagg bottled 2014

Average score from 2 reviews and 2 ratings 91

George T Stagg bottled 2014

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@talexander
George T Stagg bottled 2014

2014's George T. Stagg was distilled in spring 1998 and matured for 16 years and 4 months in 161 barrels until being bottled in, of course, fall 2014. It's worth mentioning (as I didn't before) as the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection bottlings are unfiltered; and only Sazerac 18 rye and Eagle Rare 17 year old are non-cask-strength.

The colour is a very dark reddish amber. On the nose there are lots of cherries, with dark chocolate, mint, freshly ground black pepper, sandalwood and rum-raisin. In the background there are dates, papaya and vanilla. But the oak influence is extraordinary, and all to the good. Water brings out more fruitiness but otherwise doesn't add very much.

On the palate, mouth-drying spice and alcohol with dark raisins, sage, and dark thick leather. The dance of flavours going on in my mouth completely eliminates any other sensory influence. Like the Weller, very chewy with the oak but missing that softness (which occurs with the addition of water.) For better or worse, classic Stagg.

The finish is cigar, more mint and Heering cherry liqueur. The wood is incredible - it just skirts the edge of being overpowering. As I wrote above, this is classic Stagg - big, muscular and hits you in the face with a 2x4. I love it, I really do - but if I had to compare the three 2014 BTACs I'm trying here, my favourite is the Weller - softer, more complex but no less powerful. This one comes from my own bottle and I'm very happy to have it - though I wish I had more Weller!

I recently did a side by side with my bottles of 2014 GTS and Col Taylor Jr Barrel Proof. I agree with your assessment of the GTS entirely, and your review and score only enforce my belief that the Col Taylor Jr BP is one of the best bourbons ever made. I hope Jim Murrey never finds this stuff because I want to keep as much of it for myself as possible. If you ever get a chance to try it, check out my review and tell me what you think. connosr.com/reviews/buffalo-trace/…

Thanks @newreverie - I don't think I've tasted the Taylor Barrel Proof - I'm sure it hasn't made its way to Ontario yet...hopefully one day!

@MuddyFunster

Sometimes tasting whiskey isn't straightforward. The first thing to consider about trying George T Stagg 2014 is that it's almost 70% abv.

In the glass is clear dark chestnut brown. A good looking rich colour.

The nose is a delight of complexity, but the first whiff is a big wave of alcohol like rocket fuel and it takes a few goes to get the senses under control. After the booziness there's caramel, toffee, Christmas pudding, aged mahogany wood, raisin, dark rum, dried fruits, light sherry, dry grass, sawdust, cedar wood, beeswax polish, stone fruits, chocolate. I can't remember a whiskey with so many aromas in it. I can sit sniffing this for hours. Superb nose.

The first sip and boom, a great big hit of choking alcohol burn. I try to cope with it by just coating my lips. It burns but the texture of the liquid is gorgeous. Thick, oily, luscious, sticking to and coating my lips. After the burn, It has a distinctive grapey, cognac texture, then toffee, caramel, that aged mahogany wood. It's too hot though so I need to recalibrate it with water.

Hard to get the water content right. I add just a few drops. Opens up and after a hot and spicy tingle it's a smooth, aged wood, mahogany, caramel, stone fruits, figs, dark fruit, Cognac.

I'm trying to pin down the finish. It's not really long and deep, but smooth and complex, a multitude of soft dark fruits and dark wood. Not much vanilla oak but rather aged antique wood, a little raw rough cut oak, sawdust and some herbal, grassy, sappy notes.

This is a complex and interesting whiskey, but it's not in the sublime category for me. I'd take simpler more clear cut flavours and a longer and bolder finish over this interesting complexity. Bottom line is that I wouldn't buy this whiskey even if I could find it. It's head over heart. Shostrakovich complexity, but I like the simplicity of Beethoven. I'll take Van Winkle 13 Year Family Reserve Rye over George T Stagg. I know because I drank one straight after and it was like a rainbow on my tongue after the George T Stagg storm on my senses.

Great review, from your review it sounds sublime, right in my wheel house. Thx.

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