The Stagg Junior review
Company: Buffalo Trace
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: Unknown (rumoured to be Buffalo Trace #1 <10% rye)
Price: c. £75
We were somewhat surprised to find that Stagg Jnr has only been around since 2013. Understudy to the infamous George T Stagg bourbon in age, strength and unsurprisingly, price. It is released in batches periodically throughout the year making its availability much higher than the annual release of Stagg Snr. The Gents are able to even buy Jnr in Nottingham without too much trouble.
Official notes on the Buffalo Trace website declare that Staff Jnr is aged for nearly a decade. This translates to some that it is in the region of around 8 years of age. As with many barrel proof bourbons the alcohol by volume is different in each batched release. Stagg Jnr is an unfiltered bourbon, also commonly known as non-chill filtered. Bourbon is usually chill filtered to ensure its appearance is crisp, clean and for most consumers, more attractive in appearance to drink.
The stocky, stubby and robust bottle shape only gives an indication of the aggression lying in wait within this whiskey. It appears to stand aloft and pronounce out loudly “come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough”.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass. As is the normality for the Gents when reviewing higher proof bourbons, water is added later in an attempt to capture any difference.
What we got – Red apple (cider), raisins, cherry, dark chocolate (Mr Pie) sweet, powerful aroma with a sense of “I’m going to knock you out when you taste me” (Mr Pie)
What they say we should get - The nose fills with brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon
What we got – Heat, heat, heat. Wham, bam thank you mam! At the end there is definitely a taste of sweet brown sugar/buttery (Mav). It is without doubt so very very smooth.
Water – some of the apple from the nose returns, loss of heat is inevitable
What they say we should get – The palate finds heat, cherry syrup, more brown sugar and new hints of citrus
What we got – Long, long, long (as The Beatles might say) so long it may still be there for you the next day
What they say we should get - The boundless finish lingers with hints of cherries, cloves and smokiness
Brown sugar/demerara and cherries were evident in nose and palate for the Gents and the esteemed experts seemed to agree. An intricate, delightful aroma and an inviting palate tries its best to prepare you for the heat which is about to envelop you in, as Mav calls it, “a nuclear explosion on the tongue”. This is a monster dram, definitely not for the faint hearted. If you can handle the heat it is a very palatable whiskey. One can only begin to wonder what you can expect when you bump into the Snr offering of Stagg.
8 out of 10 - Mav
7 out of 10 – Mr. Pie