Thursday, April 22, 2021

Stagg Jr. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Batch 15 - 131.1 Proof

VITALS:
- $60
- 131.1 Proof
- NAS
- Batch 15
- Kentucky

Stagg Jr. seems to have really gained a lot of steam over the past couple years. Of course, people did go after previous releases, as it is good, high proof bourbon from Buffalo Trace. But the chase for Stagg Jr. seems to have gotten significantly crazier than it has been in the past. This particular release seemed to have taken some time to make its way to Illinois, and I swear I saw daily posts for at least two months on Facebook inquiring whether anyone had seen it around. 

I was lucky enough to get my hands on one when it did come in, and in talking to the guy who sold me the bottle, he said that for at least a month he was getting anywhere from 5-10 people a day coming in and only asking for this. I get that it's a limited release, but this seemed to be getting the BTAC treatment as far as the store-stalking went.  So, I did consider myself lucky to have gotten my hands on a bottle. Taterism aside, it is generally pretty great bourbon, and I've loved the batches I've had the pleasure of enjoying in the past (Batch 1 and Batch 7).

The nose on this one conveyed the richness that I was bound to get in the flavor. I got a lot of dark fruit notes, like blackberry, with a backbone of cinnamon. It even had a rich Luxardo cherry note to it. In addition to these rich, dark fruit notes, I also got some earthy notes, like a bit of leather, as well as some rich but sweet notes, like toffee or even molasses.

There's no question that this is a heater. That's what you get with Stagg products. But, what I love is that once you get past the heat, you get just a ton of flavor, and this batch was no different.  It hit me right up front with that familiar Stagg spice, like a sweet but spicy warm cinnamon note, along with a healthy amount of brown sugar. Quite honestly, this batch wasn't quite as "burn-y" as its proof, which made it dangerous.

The caramel notes were prevalent, but I also got those earthy notes I got from the nose. Rather than leather, however, it came across more as oak and pecan. Like wood that tastes good, if that makes any sense.  In fact, on later pours I even got a pistachio note that I loved, and that seemed to go so well with everything else going on.

On the finish, I got almost all amaretto and cinnamon notes. It had that tang along with the lingering spice and that tickle left in the back of my throat. On later pours I noticed a bit of a grapey note, almost like a brandy finish that I found to be unique and very delicious, as well as a slight lingering cherry note.

This batch of Stagg Jr. is rich, complex and decadent all at once, while at the same time providing some unique and different notes, but notes that seemed to really complement those "base" flavors. I really enjoyed this, and the fact that the high proof didn't seem to get in the way made this particularly dangerous/delicious!

Grade: A

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