Brand: George T. Stagg 2012
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: 17 Years
ABV: 71.4 %
Sample Provided By: Derek, USA. Thanks!
Colour: Dark Amber with Orange and Chocolate Tones.
Nose: Very nice and approachable despite the very high ABV. In fact it's the highest ABV I have encountered so far. You need to give it some time in the glass before Nosing. I find Buttered Sweet Corn, Syrup, Oak, Cinnamon, Cloves, Honey, Cooked Apples, Vanilla, Pencil Shavings, Coffee Beans coated with Dark Chocolate, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Nuts and Dried Fruits. Tones of Apricot, Berries, Mint and Cocoa Powder. Very nicely balanced. The Alcohol is there of course but you can work your way around it without any major difficulties. This is a quality Bourbon!
Palate: Holy cow! Take small sips cause this is really strong stuff. I find Sweet Corn and Syrup, Oak, Vanilla, Rye, Christmas Spices, Cooked Apples and Berries, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, light Acetone and Dark Chocolate. Notes of Orange Liqueur and Brandy. This will warm you up quickly in Winter Time!
Finish: Strong and Dry but on the short side with Sweet Corn and Syrup, Caramel, Christmas Spices, Oak, Marshmallow and Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa). Bit of an Alcohol burn at the end but not in a bad way.
You can add a bit of Water of course and it still smells and tastes good. But neat it shows all of its wild beauty and balance.
Nose: 23.5 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 22.5
Derek's Bottle that produced the Sample!
General Remarks: More than a decade ago the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky launched the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. Each year five special Bourbons are released in very limited quantities. For 2012 they were the Eagle Rare 17 Years, The Sazerac Rye 18 Years, the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye 18 Years, the William Larue Weller Bourbon and the George T Stagg 2012 we are tasting today. Theoretically it would be for sale at around 100 US Dollars but in reality it's almost impossible to get these special expressions, especially outside the USA. So I was very pleased with the sample provided by Derek! The George T. Stagg 2012 was distilled in 1995, matured in new handpicked White Oak Barrels and was bottled unfiltered at Barrel Strength in 2012. It contains Corn from Kentucky, Rye from Minnesota and Malted Barley from North Dakota.
Drinking Experience Neat: Excellent.
Conclusion: Easily the best Bourbon I've tasted so far. I nosed it for over an hour and only stopped because dinner was ready. The Nose is the best part without any doubt. The Sweet Corn is lovely and the Rye content fits as a glove. It's Bourbon, Coffee Liqueur and Brandy all at the same time. The Palate follows the Nose with lovely Corn, Christmas Spices and Cooked Apples. The Alcohol does make it a bit of challenge though. And with Water it loses some of its Magic. The Finish is a bit too Dry and on the short side in my opinion but the Dark Chocolate Notes are very nice. You must try this if you can find it!