There's something almost unworldly about George T. Stagg. I have yet to try any year and have bad thoughts about what I'm drinking. To me, always a top notch pour and this year's release certainly won't disappoint. My brother was kind enough to pour off about 100ml for me so I could try it and boy am I glad he did.
First, let's talk about the vital statistics of this great bourbon. Barreled in the winter of 1992 and bottled in the fall of this year, makes this baby about 16 years old and comes in at another HAZMAT level of 141.4 proof. What's scary is you can drink Stagg neat no problem; that's how smooth this bourbon is. So for the sake of everyone's health, while you CAN drink it neat, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. Drinking any bourbon at this proof can be detrimental. I would recommend adding a bit of spring water to take it down about 20 points or so, or if you prefer a small cube of ice should do the trick also.
I find George T. Stagg to be consistently balanced with typical notes of vanilla, toffee, nuts and hint of maple syrup. While the proof and flavor does change year over year, one thing that doesn't change is its consistent quality of nose, taste and finish. I'll also have to advise that this is a bottle that will not be easy to find. This, along with the other four bottles that make up the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, is a limited release item and in some markets, not available at all.
I'll tell a quick story. A good friend of mine was a Scotch drinker and continuously prattled on about the virtues of his Scotch collection. I like Scotch (Highland mainly) but bourbon is my drink of choice. So, I introduced him to George T. Stagg and told him to give it a spin and let me know what he thinks. Well, after one bottle, he converted and is now a bourbon snob prattling on about the virtues of bourbon. Coming up on the 19th I'll be attending a family Christmas party where a challenge has been leveled. I'm bringing the Stagg and another family member is bringing Irish whiskey and we're gonna have a whiskey throw down. I'm looking forward to me and George crushing the competition.
One last note. Stagg is expensive; $72 here in Virginia so don't expect to find many deals as they really aren't out there. I would still recommend getting a bottle because any true bourbon dork has at least one of these in their bunker.