Saturday, February 8, 2020

Stagg Jr. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Batch 7 - 130.0 Proof

- $60
- 130.0 Proof
- Batch 7 - Fall 2016
- Kentucky

A few months back while walking through one of my usual craft beer (as opposed to whiskey) stops, I made my obligatory stop over to their display cabinet of whiskey. Usually there's nothing in there catching my eye, and from time to time what I do find is over-priced. However, in this instance, they had two bottles of Stagg Jr. at two different proofs. My curiosity having gotten the best of me, I pulled out my phone and looked up the various batches and proofs.

When I quickly learned that one of the bottles was the Fall 2016 release, I immediately got a price-check. I was pleasantly surprised at the answer I got of $60.00, and of course I asked the gentleman behind the counter to grab his key. I have no idea why they had a bottle that was released three years prior. Honestly I have no idea how long that may have been sitting in that cabinet. But, even regardless of how anyone may rate one batch versus another, to find one that was so far out of production seemed to me like a nice booty from a treasure hunt I didn't even know I was on!

The nose was full of spice, notably cinnamon and black pepper. There was also a decent amount of oak on the nose as well. It really came across as a bold, spicy and even old bourbon on the nose. Surprisingly I got very little alcohol on the nose, despite the high proof. What did come through, even if subtly, was a really delicious peanut brittle note that just made me want to dive into my glass.

As for flavor, much like the nose, the alcohol did not come across nearly as much as I expected, which was great because it allowed all the other flavors to really come through. I immediately noticed the light black pepper spice I was getting on the nose, but I was also getting a distinct graham crackery flavor to it.

On early pours I also got a long finish that was full of orange peel and caramel, which at times leaned more towards a burnt sugar flavor.  What came across from beginning to end, though, was that this was absolutely loaded with caramel -- a "caramel bomb" as the cool kids would say.

Other notes made their way to my tongue as I enjoyed this bottle, including a light milk chocolate note that seemed to work so well with everything else going on. I know I already mentioned graham crackers, but on later pours I was getting a distinct pie crust as well, and even at times the salted peanut note I got on the nose came through.

Overall, though, I absolutely loved this bottle and nearly shed a tear as I watched the last drop hang for a moment on the lip of the bottle before finally dropping into my glass.  It was a great mix of sweet and heat, and the delicious, caramel and pie crust notes shined despite ringing in at 130 proof.  In fact, I can still taste that delicious, rich caramel as I sit here typing this and sadly staring at my empty bottle.

Grade: A

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