We are pleased to welcome Mark Rhodes, Owner of Vinworx Custom Wine Cellars & Cabinets, as a columnist specializing in whiskeys. We think Mark will share valuable insights for those seeking great whiskeys to try.
George T. Stagg 2009 Release
What: With my first post to BottleReport I want to set your expectations. I’m a craftsman by trade (I build Furniture & Wine Cellars) not a journalist or writer. I won’t use words to describe whiskey like dry grass, burnt seaweed, polished leather, teaberry or vanilla fudge. To those of you who do refer to Scotch or Bourbon like this I am sorry I can’t offer you a description in those terms, my palette lacks those sensory tabs when tasting whiskey. I’ve been drinking and collecting fine American Bourbons and Scotch whiskey for a few years and have a collection that ranges from every day drinking whiskey to 30-year-old and older special occasion whiskey. My modest collection is growing with a balance of Scotch and Bourbons. I appreciate them both and don’t have a preference as long as it’s been in a barrel for 10 years or more and well crafted, I’m in.
I will be donating my opinion and the opinion of a couple friends of mine that share the same interest as I do about whiskey. None of us are “experts” (a special ops soldier and a PHD research Scientist) we enjoy collecting and drinking good whiskey and sharing our thoughts among ourselves. All of our reviews will be from our own personal collections with a good chance of it being tasted a few times before a review is submitted.
I will publish the cost (at the time of purchase) and location where the Whiskey was purchased only as reference and not an endorsement, advertisement or a preference of any establishment or brand.
With that said, here’s my first post.
George Stagg. 2009 release, no age statement, 141 proof.
I want to start by saying this is a very hard to find Bourbon. Less than 600 cases are distributed bi annually, (fall & spring) and it’s taken me two years to get my hands on a bottle. It is one of the 5 Antique whiskeys that Buffalo Trace makes. Eagle Rare 17, William Larue Weller, Thomas Handy(Rye), Sazerac Rye 18 are the other 4 (All 90 plus points rating by whiskey reviews). Getting my hands on George Stagg completed my collection of the 5.
The minute you breathe it in you know it’s a big complex beast of a Bourbon (141 proof). What you get on the nose comes to life in your mouth. I had a small amount neat then the second taste was with a ½ cube of ice. The ice melted just enough to open it up and made it all that much better. It starts out warm without a burn and turns sweet with a few different layers of flavors (caramel, Maple sugar and oak come to mind) which is a surprise since it is at cask strength. I would expect the alcohol to be the dominate force but the flavors are what come to the surface and stay with you through the finish which is long and a bit dry on the end.
I have waited a long time to get hold of this whiskey and it was well worth the wait. I was more than impressed with George Stagg and would rank this as one of the top 5 whiskeys I own. This is a very big whiskey and might not be approachable for a new whiskey enthusiast, but for those of you who enjoy big bold bourbons this is a real treat. If you can get your hands on a bottle it would certainly be a complement to any whiskey collection and stands equal to any fine Scotch in terms of developed flavors, quality and craftsmanship.
Age:No age statement
Purchased: Greene’s in Columbia SC (the store on I-26). Greene’s is only store I know of that has ever had it in the area.
Comments: This stuff is so rare that the distillery barely mentions it on their website, only referring to it in their awards section.