Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Age: NAS (7-9 Years)
Mashbill: Undisclosed (Buffalo Trace bourbon mash #1, rumored to be ~10% rye)
BACKGROUND: Stagg Jr is one of the highly sought after bourbons from Buffalo Trace distillery. Stagg Jr is released multiple times a year in highly limited batches. These bottles are highly sought after and tend to fetch incredibly high values on the secondary market. Stagg Jr is the younger brother to George T. Stagg which is apart of the annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC). George T. Stagg is a legend in the American whiskey history. Buffalo Trace started as Old Fire Copper (OFC) Distillery by Edmund H. (EH) Taylor before being sold to George T Stagg in 1878. In 1999, George T Stagg distillery changed their name to Buffalo Trace distillery in reference to to an ancient buffalo crossing on the banks of the Kentucky River in Franklin County, Kentucky. Now Stagg Jr needs no introduction or continued hype but it was brought to market in 2013 and batch 1 was deemed a failure and a miss by most reviewers as it was too bold and too brash and was not the more widely available George T Stagg. Since then, Buffalo Trace has released 13 additional batches and each have been significantly better than the first. Stagg Jr is known for having distinct cherry notes and being bottled at a high proof. Batch 15 was released in Winter 2020 and is bottled at 131.1 proof which is middle of the road for Stagg Jr releases.
NOSE: This nose tells a story; starting off with tons of sweet vanilla, oak, and brown sugar it then shows off its class with delicate notes of graham cracker, caramel, and clove while offering slight hints of spice. This nose is robust, bold, and smooth for 131.1 proof. (24/25)
PALATE: The proof shows up immediately on batch 15 giving a fullness to the mouthfeel. Notes of toffee, roasted nuts, oak, spice, and slightly dry or bitter caramel give batch 15 a unique dry and dark flavor profile not common with Stagg Jr hinting at a batch that may be a little older. (35/40)
FINISH: As to be expected with Stagg Jr, the finish is very long but also smooth with notes of dried oak, peppercorn, and some of the sweeter notes from the nose. (22/25)
VALUE: Stagg Jr has a $60 SRP, however, on the secondary market it commonly goes for north of $200. We would pay up to $100. (8/10)
FINAL THOUGHTS: Stagg Jr Batch 15 was a surprise to us but not in a bad way. We expected the fruit notes to play a huge factor but they never appeared. In their place were darker, drier, and spicier notes that gave batch 15 a unique flavor profile amongst the other batches. While still being delicious it was not quite as good as some of the other batches we have had. We recommend this to anyone who enjoys darker, drier, and spicier notes at high proof.
Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Smoke Wagon Uncut & Unfiltered Batch 23
Similar & Equal Whiskey: Manifest Whiskey Project #3
Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Booker's Donohoe's Batch 2021-01
Tell us what you think and give us some feedback!
96-100: The perfect dram, juice of the gods
90-95: Near perfect, truly incredible whiskey
85-89: Amazing whiskey, will always try to keep a backup bottle of this
80-84: Very good, some minor flaws here or there
75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink, Will try and keep a bottle on the shelf
70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get this
60-69: Decent, would offer this up to non whiskey drinkers
50-59: Not my cup of tea
Below 50: Give away