Bourbon - George T. Stagg 2004
Buffalo Trace Distillery
George T. Stagg
Buffalo Trace Distillery - (Frankfort , Kentucky )
Grain - Corn (at least 51%) Rye, Barley
PROOF: 129 (64.5%)
AGE: 17 Years Old
TYPE: Small Batch
PRICE: $ 45.00 - 750 ML
Notes: This whiskey is produced at the scenic Buffalo Trace Distillery in
Frankfort (close to Woodford Reserve Distillery if you are touring) home
of numerous other whiskies such as Eagle Rare 10 year-old, Eagle Rare 17 year-old, Blanton's, Rock Hill Farms, Hancock Reserve, and Elmer T.Lee. (See our Adventure Section for a tour of the distillery). This is not a single barrel (see above) but a small batch from the mixing of a very small group of barrels (part of the antique series).
Since this whisky was laid down long before the popularity of bourbon now , production is far less than demand as you can't suddenly make more. Indeed the earliest we might see a lot more is about 12 years from now (best guess). In the interim people are performing desperate acts to get hold of it- Don't blame them!
Appearance: Wonderful copper red in the bottle, similar to the color of
Russian gold in the glass.
First Impression: Corn and rye, a seeming signature from this distillery ,
which end up smelling like leather, toffee, spices, and mint. You can
smell the oaks influence on the whiskey in the peppery scent towards the
end. Lots of dark fruit smells at the end as well.
It reminds me of the deeper cognac cellars in France. Nice edge line on the glass when you swirl it and some legs to it. Mint/vanilla comes out more after a while, along with a slight molasses scent. Reminds me of Dutch Kaneel in its spiciness.
Taste: Wonderful heavy mouth feel, it is a sweet fire at full strength.
However the fact that you can drink it at that proof and actually like it
speaks volumes as to how good it is. There is a definite sweetness to the
corn with a wonderful rye sourness to it, the sort of paradoxical effect
you get with strawberries and balsamic vinegar (although it taste nothing
like that) a sweet smell but then very dry - but not at all astringent like
some whiskies. It has the ethereal quality of a fine cognac at the end where
it vaporizes at the back of the throat with a pleasing lingering tease. Very
long, lingering, finish.
Drinks: Given how magnificent this whisky is it seems sinful to mix it in a
drink. Such a great whiskey should only be sipped with a little water (after trying it straight) if you must but we are not above the occasional sin the same way the sea is not above the clouds so...
The Manhattan almost makes me want to sing Schillers "Ode to Joy," (Beethoven's 9th Symphony, 4th movement) - to the relief of all the local
tomcats I chose not to! The Old Fashioned shows a depth of character and complexity heretofore unimaginable. Next time I break my leg skydiving or BASE jumping I want this instead of morphine.
Final Thoughts: This bourbon is a challenge to all others. It sets the standard for bourbon, and shows how great a whiskey it can be. It gives most, if not all
single malt scotches a run for their money when it comes to craftsmanship
and quality. As close to perfection in bourbon as it gets.
Bottle: The long, thin, clear glass, and small labels show off the color of the whiskey to good effect.
The clear glass bottom lends a nice visual effect and give the bottle a decanter type feel and weight. A spare design that does not distract from the centerpiece, the bourbon.
Fast loading with a slightly annoying intro (no need for it). This however is
followed by a display of all the bourbons they make (over 20, not counting
overseas variations). Extensive information and good pictures of each one, with reviews and ratings by different people and organizations.