What more is there to say about George T. Stagg? This Buffalo Trace Mashbill #1 powerhouse is always big, bold, and unapologetic. And I love it for that. Uncut and unfiltered, this is the “big brother” of the younger Stagg Jr. and the main difference between the two releases is that GTS is usually aged about twice as long. The 2017 bottling is just over 15 years old. If you’re looking for big flavors that pull no punches, you’ve come to the right place.
The 2017 release of GTS was the biggest ever by a wide margin with almost 4 times the amount of bottles available as the 2016 release. That meant more to go around (though it’s still nearly impossible to find on shelves). This GTS is bottled at 64.6% ABV which is great because I think somewhere around the 130 proof mark is perfect for these types of releases. For all the nitty-gritty details on 2017 George T. Stagg, you can learn more here.
All that’s left to do is taste it. I thought the first pour of this was a little closed off so I waited a few weeks before trying it again for this review. I’m glad I did because those few weeks really did wonders.
|Nose||Toffee and cherry in heaps, nice corn sweetness, prunes, cola. Man, the black cherries are so in your face it's not even funny. Herbs and spice in the form of cinnamon and fennel. Some chocolate appears after a few minutes. Doesn't have the heat of 120+ proof.|
|Taste||Big black cherry up front, brown sugar and vanilla extract, more cola, maple syrup, figs, plenty of oak, cappuccino, a touch of orange citrus in the back.|
|Finish||Mixed berry pie filling, spicy oak, vanilla, hint of apples, brown sugar lingers for quite some time.|
|Overall Thoughts||I think a big part of the scoring for bold whiskies like these barrel proof BTAC bottles come down to personal prefernce. With this year's GTS, the explosion of "in your face" flavors on the nose is something I love though I can see it turning others off. This bourbon isn't super complex but it's not supposed to be. It does a few things and does them really well. There's also a very nice progression from nose to palate and through to the finish. Congrats to Buffalo Trace. They did it again this year.|