Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Sazerac Company
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
Release Date: October 2022
Age: 15 Years, 5 Months
Color: Dark Chestnut
MSRP: $99 (2022)
Brown sugar | Amaretto | Cognac | Rum | Stewed apples | Nicely layered with a strong intensity | More unique scents than past releases
Amaretto | Hazelnut | Prune | Vanilla | Thick sweet oak | Approachable for its proof
Leather | Pomegranate molasses | Thick oak | A fleeting trace of musty tannic oak
A return to form for George T. Stagg, while sporting a few new tricks up its sleeve.
After playing hooky last year and not showing up to the annual release party due to subpar quality, George T. Stagg is back. Featuring its highest proof in 6 years is a nice return to form for the brand that is best known for its big bold proof. While it has maintained a high quality over the years, its younger counterpart, Stagg (formally known as Stagg Jr.) has upstaged it on more than one occasion. Clearly this year's version of George T. Stagg is a reminder that Senior still knows best.
Featuring familiar scents of brown sugar and stewed apple, the introduction of amaretto is quite striking. Combined with a fusion of cognac and rum scents, it produces an aroma that is unique for the brand. It’s incredibly effective and starts the sip in a praiseworthy spot. The amaretto continues into the palate creating a sweet and nutty impact. This nuttiness is further accentuated with hazelnut, before transitioning to rich plum, vanilla, and classic Stagg heavy sweet oak. This layering makes the sip much more dynamic this year, where often Stagg can come across as very homogeneous in its flavor profile. The finish in turn starts off with a straightforward leather note, before transitioning to pomegranate molasses. There’s also a minor musty tannic note that is fleeting and unlikely to be problematic for the majority of drinkers. This year's release retains its classic heaviness that Stagg known for, but this slight introduction of fruity notes throughout is extremely welcome.
The 2022 release of George T. Stagg is a welcomed one. Instead of being more of the same (which would be fine in and of itself), Stagg comes roaring back with some extra uniqueness in tow. Stagg holds a special place in the barrel proof bourbon realm as it is often unmistakable in its profile. While it sheds a small amount of its familiarity in order to offer something new, it's a better bourbon because of it.