Price Point: $55 – $65 for 750 ML
Distiller: Buffalo Trace Distillery
This will be my last review of 2011, so I thought I’d end things with my first of five reviews of Sazerac’s Antique Collection. And why not start it out with a bang with George T. Stagg!
Sazerac’s Antique Collection is kind of a big deal. Most whiskey newbies will have never heard of these brands, but anyone in the know will understand the value of these treasures.
For those of you not following me, the Antique Collection is an annually released group of whiskeys sold around October/November every year. The collection includes Eagle Rare 17 Year Old, William Larue Weller, Thomas H. Handy Rye, Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye, and George T. Stagg. These whiskeys are world-renowned for their quality, coveted for their rarity, and questioned over their reasonable prices. Most are barrel proof and extremely flavorful.
If you’re lucky enough to find one of these bottles in your local shop, pick one up. They usually don’t last long.
George T. Stagg happens to be my favorite of the bunch, which is why I decided to start with it. It’s also the highest proof at a staggering 141.4. So that’s right around the range of Bacardi 151, which has about as much flavor as rubbing alcohol. Stagg certainly packs a punch (so be careful with it!), but there’s plenty to taste in this complex bourbon.
Fair warning – when you are smelling this whiskey, your nostrils will burn. Initially. Once your nose becomes accustomed, you’ll pick out a heavy presence of maple syrup. I also detect a small hint of raspberries and a little caramel.
The tastes of George T. Stagg are just as complex as the scents. Despite the high alcohol content, the drinker can pick up a rich, caramelly taste. Notes of chocolate can be detected as well.
Afterwards, the burning of the alcohol will sit with you, but the taste itself will not remain for all that long. The maple mentioned previously will hang around for a short while, and then disappear.
Rating & Recommendations
George T. Stagg is a wonderful bourbon, and deserving of all of its praise. I give this whiskey my highest rating yet, with a 94 out of 100.
If you haven’t already gotten the point that this whiskey is strong, then here’s my final recommendation – throw a little water in your glass or a couple cubes of ice. No need to drink this one neat; it drinks far too hot!
Overall, this is one of my all-time favorite whiskeys. I couldn’t drink it everyday, but every once in a while it really hits the spot. If you can get your hands on some Stagg, I say go for it.