Stagg Jr. Review

Stagg Jr Review

Stagg Jr. is, exactly as its name implies, a younger version of the George T Stagg bourbon that’s released annually by Buffalo Trace. While big daddy GTS typically ranges from 15-17 years in age the Stagg Jr. is an 8 year old bourbon that’s made from a combination of 8-9 year old barrels. This whiskey is also released multiple times per year, in small batches, compared to the once a year releasing of the GTS.

When Stagg Jr. was first released in August of 2013 I remember all the buzz around it. Bourbon geeks snatched up bottles almost before they touch the shelf, secondary market flipping was instantly seeing a 3x markup on the $50 MSRP and less scrupulous stores were marking theirs up to be around the same. in fact, I know of one store here in Los Angeles who still has a bottle, marked at $150, sitting on their shelf over 2 years later. Initially it was difficult to get, but now I can easily buy a case at MSRP if I was so inclined. It’s always interesting to see how the market and whiskey fans react to a new releases… anyways, on to the Stagg Jr. review!

Stagg Jr. Info

Region: Kentucky, USA

Distiller: Buffalo Trace
Mashbill: Buffalo Trace Mashbill #1 (low rye ~ <10% rye)
Cask: New charred oak
Age: NAS (~8 years)
ABV: 66.05%

Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Price: $50

Stagg Jr. Review

EYE
Dark amber

NOSE
Wood, dark sweets, spice, vanilla, touch herbal and dark fruit. It’s a nice basic Buffalo Trace aroma, but there’s an astringent bite in it that needs a bit of water to tame.

PALATE
Dark sweets, wood, cinnamon heavy spice, vanilla and a light bit of cocoa, fruit leather and sweet tobacco. Like nose it’s great, but it also falls prey to a sharp bit of astringent acetone and needed a fair dose of water to even it out. Still not awful at full CS though.

FINISH
Long and oaky with notes of cinnamon, vanilla and dried fruit.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Decent balance despite acetone, full body and a thick heavy feel; runs a bit hot.

OVERALL
Stagg Jr. is a big bold barrel proof bourbon that, at MSRP, is a relatively decent deal in today’s bourbon buying climate. The nose on it is woody and sweet with all the lovely Buffalo Trace spice and dark fruits that make it an aromatically aggressive bourbon. That same aggressive character rolls over to the palate and rolls on through the finish and it’s just an all around good bourbon. The only partial downfall in this batch of Stagg Jr. is the previously mentioned wood.

The wood in this batch of Stagg Jr. comes across nice and rich, but also a bit astringent. There is a bite to the nose, palate and finish that takes a decent amount of water to cut through and even it out. I’ve had other batches of Stagg Jr. that aren’t quite as astringent and “bitey” as this one os it does change batch to batch as you’d expect. Regardless of the sensory stinging acetone-like quality it’s still a good whiskey and a good deal. Definitely recommend it if you find it at a reasonable price.

SCORE: 89/100

  • Nose - 88
  • Palate - 89
  • Finish - 90
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 89

Summary

Stagg Jr. is a big thick bourbon with a lot going on. This particular batch is a bit astringent, but even with those sharp notes cutting through the senses it’s still a good whiskey and well worth its price.

Stagg Jr Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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6 Responses to Stagg Jr. Review

  1. I just had my third taste of this. Glencairn glass with one small piece of ice. I like it very much, high octane, but still sweet and spicy. Amazing that such a high proof bourbon still allows for tasting the complexities.

    I’m now onto OGD 114, which is also nice but more of a forward afterburn on the tongue. I wanted to try another high proof bourbon to compare and contrast.

    Stagg Jr. Is definetly more appealing to my palate, but both are keepers.

    Amazing how every bourbon hits a different area of the mouth.

    Cheers!

  2. I’ve got the 129.7 proof version. Fall 2015? It’s got some really great sweet and spicy interplay with a middle of the tongue happy thing that I can’t quite express. Cheers!

  3. Ive got batch 5 myself and this stuff is high octane. The flavors are delicious. I just have to get past the fact that it thermogenically heats my tongue to the point of pain. Haha little water helps a lot!

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