Monday, December 17, 2012
Stagg-nation: George T. Stagg 2012
George T. Stagg, along with Pappy Van Winkle, has become the most renowned and hard to get bourbon out there. I don't really bother with these annoyingly hard to find whiskeys anymore, but I'll certainly give it a try if a friend drops me a sample.
George T. Stagg 2012, Distilled 1995, 16 years 9 months old, 71.4% abv. ($70 - in theory)
The nose has rich, woody bourbon goodness like only Stagg can have. The palate starts off quite tannic but then moves to candy and wood with a dash of pepper; the acid returns for late palate and the finish with a touch of mildew. A few drops of water brings out a chocolate milk like sweetness but also makes it lose a shocking amount of the woody notes which are reduced to a faint char in the late palate, making it one dimensional.
I've been drinking George T. Stagg since around 2005, and some of those bottlings have been among my all time favorite whiskeys. Starting with last year, though, I feel like Stagg has lost some of its luster. It's still very good bourbon, but the last couple of releases haven't been as transcendent as the earlier ones.
Just to make sure I wasn't being overly nostalgic, I did a side by side tasting with the 2010 Stagg, one of my favorites. Sure enough, the 2010 had a richness and complexity that was lacking in this year's release. The 2010 has a huge dose of polished wood and leather mingled and balanced with candy sweetness, the two maintaining a perfect balance well into the everlasting finish. This year's Stagg is certainly good, and I wouldn't turn down a glass, but it lacks that level of complexity, and given how hard Stagg is to find, it makes me even less likely to hunt for it.
See the LA Whiskey Society reviews of George T. Stagg 2012.