Keith Boyea's Blog

Notes & Commentary on National Security, Current Affairs and Bourbon

Goddamn I Love Bourbon, George T. Stagg

Long before I got really into bourbon, and long before I met my wife, a friend of mine and I used to go out on the town.  We were sort of the dive bar types; we didn’t fit in as well in the pulse pounding techno-chic clubs.  But for whatever reason, I think it was a mutual friend’s birthday, we decided to go to some god awful club called the K-Street lounge.  It’s on K Street, DC that is.

The club sucks; we both hated it.  It just wasn’t our cup of tea.  To compensate, we drank bourbon and gingers like supplies of both were exhausting.  We got drunk, bar hopped a little bit, drank some more bourbon and ginger, and eventually decided to call it a night.  We shared a cab, even though he lived in Cleveland Park and I lived in Arlington.  As we were moving up Connecticut, my friend said to the driver, “You can drop me off right here.”  We weren’t anywhere close to his house, but being the good friend I am, I let him get out and turned the cabbie in the direction of my house.

I didn’t find out until the next day that my friend got out so he could puke in a dumpster.  He walked the rest of the way home.  We both still like bourbon.

I tell that story as an introduction to my bourbon review because it is the only experience with bourbon that I can think of that didn’t turn out so well.  Sort of like the way I feel about George T. Stagg.

George T. Stagg is part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.  The collection is released once a year and they are highly sought after.  This year’s version of George T. Stagg is bottled at 71.3% alcohol by volume, so it is a complete beast.  I spent a month going to the two liquor stores closest to my house trying to find the damn thing, and finally finding a bottle for the insane price of $94 at Harry’s Reserve. (It retails in less expensive areas for about $65.)

Color: Very dark, a deep copper mahogany.  In the bottle it looks almost black.

Nose: The alcohol smell hit me hard, but then I was able to detect some chocolate, oak and vanilla.  Other reviewers have said they smelled leather, and I think I could smell that as well.

Taste: George T. Stagg hit me with a punch–spices and coffee on the back of the tongue hit me right away.  I could feel the tingle on my tongue for several minutes after taking my first sip and during that time a bit of sweetness crept in.

Overall I rate this a 2, which is a “just okay” bourbon in my system. It was highly disappointing to me given the hype surrounding the product.  I’ve tried this a couple of times now with varying amounts of water to try to water it down and bring out some more flavor but I’ve yet to get it to a “sweet spot.”  Each time I’ve sipped it is assaults my mouth–It’s just too aggressive for me to enjoy regularly.  That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy it, because bourbon experts have rated George T. Stagg one of the best spirits in the world.  So, go figure.

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Written by keithboyea

December 21, 2011 at 6:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] didn’t like this one much, though I do find it more drinkable on a regular basis than the George T. Stagg I reviewed two weeks ago.  For $25 or so, this is worth trying if you like wheated bourbons, and […]


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