Chip off the old block: Stagg Jr's debut


If you have ever asked your wife’s cousin’s friend, who happens to manage a liquor store, if they could hold a bottle of George T. Stagg for you the day it gets released – because you can not make it to the store within the two hours they are going to sell out of it – then you might be a Bourbon geek. Well geeks, get ready to ask your wife to call her cousin to inform their friend that there is a new version of this cultish Bourbon that is going to hit the shelves very soon.

George T. Stagg Jr.
George T. Stagg Jr. coming to select stores in August

Buffalo Trace (BT) has announced that in mid-August various markets will start receiving shipments of Stagg Jr. Bourbon, a younger version of the George T. Stagg (GTS) Bourbon.

GTS is part of the distillery’s Antique Collection and is available, briefly, once a year in the fall. Originally revealed to the public in 2002, GTS has earned a reputation as being a very complex, yet well-balanced Bourbon – even though its proof usually hovers around 140, which makes it one of the highest proof Bourbons available to the public.

The “Jr.” doesn’t come from its lack of punch. Made with the same mashbill as the original, Stagg Jr. is unfiltered and uncut, meaning it is bottled at barrel proof. The first batch of Stagg Jr. will weigh in at 134.4 proof, well above what most Bourbons bottle at (usually around 90 proof, or 45 percent alcohol). But Stagg Jr. will not be as old as its progenitor. According to BT, it will be a combination of Bourbons that are eight to nine years old, compared to the 2013 GTS which will be 16 years old (GTS is usually aged for around 15 years).

Another variance from GTS is that Stagg Jr. will have multiple releases per year. BT expects to offer three to four different batches annually, with each having a different proof still in that eight-to-nine-year range. The batches will be released as enough Bourbon meets the desired taste profile that the distillery is shooting for. BT Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley describes the inaugural Stagg Jr. taste profile as, “rich, sweet, chocolate and brown sugar flavors mingled in perfect balance with a bold, rye spiciness. The boundless finish lingers with hints of cherries, cloves and smokiness.”

Although there will be multiple offerings each year, Stagg Jr. will still be produced on a limited basis, so don’t expect it to sit on the shelves long. BT also said that Stagg Jr. will not affect the supply of future bottlings of GTS. “We’ve been aging these barrels for years in anticipation of this Stagg Jr. offering,” said Kris Comstock, Bourbon brand manager at BT. “George T. Stagg has won countless awards, but we’re delighted to introduce Stagg Jr., which should be a bit more accessible.”

Starting sometime in August, Stagg Jr. will be available in 750 ml bottles for the suggested retail price of $49.99.