Stagg Jr. Batch 12, 66.15%
Nose: Apple sauce, loads of cherries, cinnamon and softer baking spices, light toasted oak
Palate: Thick mouth feel, lively with some heat, quite fruity with cherries, grapes, apples and pears, some more oak
Finish: Long length, baking spices, cherries, drying with tannic oak notes
Rating: 89/100 – Excellent | Really quite exceptional
Such an excellent barrel proof release from Buffalo Trace. So much fruit with a nice oak backbone and dangerously drinkable at over 130 proof. I just wish these were as easy to find as Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.
Additional Info: Released fall 2019, believed to be roughly 7-9 years old
George T. Stagg 2019, 58.45%
Nose: Absolutely tantalizing, sweet oak, Luxardo cherries, chocolate and caramel, apple cider
Palate: Thick syrupy mouth feel, dominates the palate with with dry, heavy oak and tannins, vanilla, brown sugar, a fruit basket of cherries, pears, and raspberry jam
Finish: Very long finish, tons of oak spice, cocoa, tannic and drying to the point where it leaves you parched
Rating: 92/100 – Incredible | An all time favorite
This was my first taste of a GTS so I have no basis of comparison against other batches, but this is likely the best bourbon I’ve tasted to date and it’s the first one that I’ve scored in the 90s. While not hot, it’s surprisingly intense at 117 proof, and has all of the mature oak tannin and spice notes that I love in older bourbons while maintaining the classic Buffalo Trace fruit notes.
Additional Info: Composed of barrels aged for no less than 15 years and 3 months
Final thoughts: GTS > Stagg Jr.
I wanted to like Jr. more. It’s my bottle, it’s excellent, and it was somehow only $40, but the GTS just brings so much more of a intense flavor experience in all three phases. I wouldn’t describe either bourbon as particularly complex, but both demonstrate a mastery of flavor depth and balance of Buffalo Trace’s mash bill #1 profile. GTS may be the winner, but you can’t go wrong with either bottle.