George T. Stagg bourbon whiskey

George T. Stagg Bourbon (2015) Review

George Stagg is always a favorite among fans of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.  Aged 15 years and bottled straight from the barrel, Stagg stands as the king of barrel-proof bourbon.  It’s almost always the highest proof whiskey in the collection, and this year is no different.  A 138.2 proof bourbon is not for the weak or the weary.  Keeping some water nearby is some advice to take to heart with a pour of this year’s George Stagg.

The 2015 release of George T. Stagg will be a small one.  Of the 128 barrels selected for this year’s batch, some 84% of it evaporated.  Some barrels only had a gallon or two of whiskey left.  If you thought Stagg was hard to get before, this year will be nearly impossible.  Just over 5,000 bottles are estimated to be released.  That’s close to half of last year’s numbers.

The nose here is intense, as expected.  There’s a concentration of dark caramel, herbs, vanilla, nougat and cinnamon.  Prep yourself for that first alcohol punch.  Looking past that, I get vanilla bean extract and dark chocolate, followed by caramelized fruit and molasses. There’s a little spice here, along with some oak and a slight bitter note.  This whiskey feels thick and almost chewy. The finish is long, warm, spicy and bittersweet.

I’ll just come out and say it – this year’s George Stagg release is one of the better whiskeys I’ve had all year.  This is every bit as good as last year’s batch.  It’s a damn shame there aren’t enough bottles to go around.   Happy hunting, folks.

(Note: A small review sample was provided by Buffalo Trace.)

George T. Stagg Bourbon Whiskey (2014) Review


Every fall Buffalo Trace releases their Antique Collection comprised of three bourbons (George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, and Eagle Rare 17 Year Old) and two rye whiskies (Sazerac 18 Year Old and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac).  They range in age from 6 or so years to 18, and three of them are barrel proof.  These five whiskies are coveted among American whiskey fans.  George Stagg and Sazerac 18 are almost always at the top of “best of” whiskey lists each year.  Lately, hype surrounds certain bourbons (Pappy, anyone?), and these five whiskies are no exception.

This year’s George T. Stagg was distilled in 1998, making it 16 years old.  It comes to us “uncut & unfiltered” at a hearty 138.1 proof.  If you’re used to only drinking 80 or 90 proof bourbon, this number looks astronomical.  The strongest Stagg release was back in 1997, which saw a 144.8 proof bourbon.  Yikes!  I like sipping neat first, then adding a little water if I need it.  Most times I don’t.  This time I kept it close-by. Buffalo Trace Distillery provided a review sample.

This stuff smells nice.  I got alcohol fumes, caramel, toasted oak, and a little citrus.  Tasting it (slowly), I find it’s one of the thicker whiskies I’ve had.  Could be due to the high proof.  I got lots of toffee, butterscotch, cinnamon, a little oak and some vanilla.  There was also a little bitterness.  Buffalo Trace’s included tasting notes mentioned dark chocolate.  That may be the best way to describe the bitterness.  Now, don’t go expecting a Hershey bar here.  The finish was long and bittersweet.  The heat fades after a few sometimes intense spicy moments.  I tasted about half the glass neat, then added a minuscule amount of water.  The water slightly calmed down the heat and spaced the flavored out a bit.

The suggested retail price for the whiskies in the Antique Collection is $80.  Anything higher than that and your store is gouging your wallet.  I spoke about whiskey hype earlier in the post.  This one lives up to whatever hype it receives.  Drinking George T. Stagg is a truly sensory experience.  Don’t pass up a chance to purchase a bottle (at a reasonable price).  Your taste buds will thank you.


Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Reviews Coming Soon


It’s an exciting time at the Childs household.  My fiancee and I just purchased our first house.  We’re a few weeks away from getting married.  Last, but most definitely not least,  Buffalo Trace just announced their 2014 Antique Collection is being released at the end of the month.  If that wasn’t enough, this week I received my review samples.  Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll post reviews of this year’s George Stagg, William Larue Weller, Eagle Rare 17, Sazerac 18, and Thomas Handy Sazerac.  I can’t wait.  To whet your appetite in the meantime, here’s their press release:




FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (Sept. 4, 2014) Whiskey aficionados can start their holiday shopping early once Buffalo Trace Distillery releases its 2014 Antique Collection in late September. The highly anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs. Here’s what loyal fans can expect:

George T. Stagg

The 2013 release of this perennial favorite received the prestigious Chairman’s Trophy during the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.  Barrels for this year’s George T. Stagg bottling were selected from Warehouses C, H, I, K, L, P, and Q.  This uncut and unfiltered bourbon was distilled back in the spring of 1998 and weighs in at 138.1 proof.  Although still highly allocated, happily there are a few more bottles available this year, since Buffalo Trace increased distillation for George T. Stagg back in 1997. This whiskey tastes of dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and dates.

William Larue Weller

The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon is William Larue Weller. The previous edition was given a “95” rating by Whisky Advocate Magazine.  The 2014 offering was distilled in the spring of 2002 and aged on the second, third, fourth, and sixth floors of Warehouses D, K, and L.  This bourbon registers in at 140.2 proof – the strongest Weller release ever.  The bold flavors include dark molasses, plums, and toffee.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye

Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. The 2013 edition was named “World’s Best Rye Whiskey” at the 2014 World Whiskies Awards.  This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2008, aged on the fifth floor of Warehouse M and weighs in at 129.2 proof.  The flavor has been described as Christmas cake, allspice, coconut, and clove.

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old

The previous edition of this bourbon was honored with a Silver Outstanding Medal at the 2013 International Wine and Spirits Competition. The 2014 edition has been aging on the second, third and sixth floors of Warehouses I and K.  This bourbon was aged nearly two decades and tastes of oak, leather, cinnamon, and tobacco.

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old

Last year Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old was awarded a Gold Medal from Whisky Magazine’s World Whisky Awards.  This 2014 straight rye whiskey release was aged in Warehouse K and has notable flavor of all-spice, molasses and hints of mint, along with a long, dry finish.

The Antique Collection was introduced more than a decade ago and has become a cult favorite among whiskey connoisseurs. Since 2000 these whiskeys have garnered numerous awards from such notable publications as Whisky Advocate Magazine, Spirit Journal, and Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

The 2014 Antique Collection whiskeys will be available in limited quantities starting in late September or early October.  Suggested retail price is $80 each.  For more information visit

About Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery’s rich tradition dates back to 1786 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee.  Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is a National Historic Landmark as well as is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine andWine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit  To download images from Buffalo Trace Distillery visit