- Producer: Buffalo Trace Distillery
- Location: Frankfort, Kentucky
- Name: Stagg Jr. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- Classification: Small Batch, Limited Release
- Specific Characteristics: Uncut & Unfiltered
- Age: No Age Statement (8-9 Years)
- Proof: 132.1
- Michigan Minimum Shelf Price: $49.96
Before we even smelled or tasted this Bourbon, it was quite evident that it was high proof due to it’s very dark coloring and legs that were very slow to run down the side of our glass.
Smell: With a small whiff of this Bourbon, we first notice a subtle floral fragrance that quickly gives way to the slight sweetness of baking chocolate. This turns to a spicy rye scent that lingers, before giving way to a slight cherry smell to finish things off. If we allow our nose to linger a little longer, we can smell a sweet vanilla which fades to a rye spiciness before our nose is tickled by the alcohol scent. Although the alcohol scent is present with a big sniff, it is well hidden by the other scents until the finish.
Taste: There is a very quick sweet taste that is hard to identify, before the flavors begin to coat our palate. This sweetness gives way to a rye spiciness on the tip of the tongue that moves towards the back, then the roof of the mouth, back to the front, to the lips, and then finally a long, lingering finish which coats the mouth. It is a bold flavor that is hard to distinguish individual flavors in the first sip. Further sips reveal the tastes of chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, cherry, oak, and smoke. As we continue to taste this Bourbon, we can identify and isolate many of these flavors, as if the others weren’t present. The balance of sweet and spicy seems to hide the high proof, although it quickly goes to our head despite what our mouth tells us. The finish is a long, lingering smoky flavor that really dries the palate.
This Bourbon is fairly smooth and balanced, despite being barrel strength. That said, there doesn’t seem to be much depth to the individual flavors and it seems to be missing overall.
Recommendation and Score
Recommendation: This is definitely a sipping Bourbon, although it may be best consumed with a splash of water depending on your experience with higher proof Bourbons. Although it is a limited release bottle which uses the well-respected Stagg name, it seems to be missing something as we mentioned above. The intrigue of the bold flavors somewhat hiding the high proof gains this Bourbon a couple of points score-wise, but it doesn’t blow us away. Overall, it is very good, but for some reason still doesn’t quite live up to our expectations. We would recommend it more as a “curiosity” than a “must have.”
Score: 90 out of 100 overall.