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flahute

BOTM 12/19: Stagg Jr. (and friends)

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flahute

OK......as the new director of BOTM I'm going to take some liberties this month. Bear with me.

 

It's December and during this holiday season all of us bring out our special bottles, as we should. (We should bring them out all year long of course, but bringing them out during the holidays and other special occasions is also expected.)

So, I really wanted this BOTM to be about George T Stagg. It was my first premium bourbon and I first experienced it at Christmas so it holds a special place in my heart and I associate it with the holidays. But, I know that many of you are not so lucky and this particular sub-forum is meant to feature accessible bourbons.

SO: we will talk about Stagg JR., which while allocated in some places has been around long enough that most have had it at this point.

 

Stagg Jr.: I remember settling for Stagg Jr.the first time I tried to find Stagg and discovered that I had missed the release of BTAC by a couple weeks. They still had a couple bottles of the initial release of Stagg Jr. behind the counter to I happily bought one. Boy was I disappointed. It was a hot mess. This was when I invented the Stagg Jr. / OC8 blend (which morphed into the Stagg Jr / BT or ER10 blend when I ran out of OC8). That blend was pretty darn good actually and I still employ it.

 

Since then, Stagg Jr. has gotten good enough to stand on its own though it's still inconsistent at times. Batch 3 was widely heralded as the first really good batch. We are now on Batch 12 which Breaking Bourbon just reviewed glowingly. 

 

Tell me what you think about Stagg Jr.

 

Because it's the holidays and I make the rules, also tell me what you think about Stagg Sr. What's your favorite year? Have you had 2019 yet? (I have not). How does it stack up?

 

If you haven't been able to try either of these two, talk to me about Buffalo Trace. (Stagg Jr. is often referred to as barrel proof BT because most think it's more similar to that than Sr.)

 

And lastly, I hope all of you have a rewarding and fulfilling Christmas season. May you all drink well. 

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lcpfratn

I think the first batch of Stagg Jr that I ever had was batch 5 or 6, and it was also my first really high proof bourbon. The first pour I tried was an explosion of flavor, but I also ended up having to add a small cube or some water in order to finish it. Eventually I got to where I could enjoy it neat on some evenings, but I still like to use a small cube or a bit of water with it most of the time. I haven’t tried your blend yet, so I need to do that someday. This reminds me that I haven’t opened a bottle in quite a while...need to go pull one from the bunker soon!

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Richnimrod

I heartily agree with your assessment of 'The Younger Stagg Brother' as being INCONSISTENT

That is the word I'd use to describe my experiences with Stagg, Jr.    I almost agree with you about the first iteration.   It was certainly HOT!   I didn't find it a total 'mess', though.    It worked very well as the main ingredient in an Old Fashioned, as well as the driver of a Ginger Ale Highball.   Neat, it was indeed hard to drink, though.   

I stayed away from a few releases after that; but eventually circled back and acquired many of 'em.   

I used to track which ones I had; but approached too close to Bourbon Zen a while back and gave up seeking out 'missing ones'... and even passed by most of last five or so (I think I did eventually buy one or 2?).

I still rarely pour it neat, though I have one of 'em open that is pretty drinkable neat (maybe #3, 4 or 5?).    I do recall a couple, or maybe 3, batches that I found a cut above the usual, and sadly have drank all those up (I think? Everything in the bunker is not easy to access, so not sure, given my low motivation to find out.   HA!).

   

To my taste buddies the very first one is actually the least enjoyable, which makes me scratch my head a bit, given The Buffalo's well-known ability to protect and promote their brands.   I'd have thought (and did expect) that #1 would've been very carefully curated and come out of the gate as a real winner.   Several subsequent batches have been that!   I grabbed at least one extra of those I found really good; but in the last two or three years, Junior has become so rare in my area that hunting it just isn't all that likely to pay off.    ECBP (once quite rare here) is waaaay more available around me.   In fact ECBP often sees full (or nearly) shelves restocked as soon as a few bottles are sold.

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CardsandBourbon

I currently have a bottle of release #8 open.  I have a couple of other later releases but haven't had the occasion to open them yet.  #8 is a winner to me.  Weighs in at a very high proof but is not too hot.  Great legs in the glass and very intense flavors.

 

It's one of my favorite pours with some smoked ribs or a thick juicy rare grilled steak.

 

STAGG AND RIBS.jpeg

Resized_20170625_173206.jpeg

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afmadd

I've had a pour of #9, and a bottle of 11 and 12.  9 was good.  11 was a bit of a disappointment; it started out very nice and surprising drinkable for the proof, but it developed a harsh acetone note about half way through.  12 is absolutely fantastic, I think.  Very easy to drink and the heat, while there, doesn't get in the way.  More brown sugar/caramel and less fruit than 11 (and 9, going by my possibly faulty memory).

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Kane

I've been posting here about my #6 a lot lately. I've never had different releases SBS, but this one was the first to truly leave an impression and beat my favorite CEHT BP. Inconsistent it is, but at ~msrp no release (but the first) felt like a waste of time to me.

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fishnbowljoe

Steve’s initial comments pretty much mirror my experiences. I jumped at the initial offering of JR because of the difficulty in finding GTS. Like Steve said, it was a hot mess. I shied away from it after that. I decided to give it another try when I was at a bar that had Batch #3. It was great. I’ve liked all the batches I’ve tried every since. The problem in my area now, is that it just doesn’t show up on the shelves like it used to. I’ve actually not had the last two or three batches. I had the opportunity to buy one a couple of weeks go, but opted for a Weller 12 and Blanton’s instead. Such is life.....^_^

 

Biba! Joe

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EarthQuake

Stagg Jr is an excellent consolation prize for those who miss out on George T Stagg proper. Obvious, GTS takes the cake with more depth, complexity, and tends to be absurdly drinkable for the proof, but the family resemblance is there. Stagg Jr is also a great alternative to the somewhat easier, but still hard to find C.E.H. Taylor Barrel proof. IMO, there is very little between Stagg Jr and CEHTBP other than a fancy bottle in a tube.

 

I've not had the early batches of Stagg Jr, but have tried most since batch 7, and all have been very good, and in my mind at least, rather consistent. Sure, there's a bit of per-batch variance, but I'm hard pressed to say that any of the batches have been significantly better or worse than the others. They're all a bit hot out of a new bottle, but once I get down to the halfway mark or so, they tend to be rather lovely.

 

Whenever I get a new batch of Stagg Jr,  I pop it open and try it next to whatever other batch(es) I happen to have open. This is usually the point at which I shake my head at the internet chatter of X batch being best, Y batch being disappointing, etc. It's a fairly small sample size (I've only had a bottle of '17 and '18 so far) but I find GTS to have significantly more variance than Stagg Jr. I really love the 2017 release of GTS, but the 2018 wasn't that much better than a typical Stagg Jr in my mind. I know that's probably blasphemy to say, but there it is.

Edited by EarthQuake

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JCwhammie

I enjoy the SJR batches quite a bit. I'm not sure which batch numbers I've had, but all but 1 were ones released in the last 3 years. The line exception was batch 1. My brother had bought it based on a recommendation from a little store by his house. That was back when neither of us drank BP stuff, so it would've been a hot mess to us regardless.

 

The bad thing about SJR is that it's allocated in STL, so if it's on a shelf it was likely placed there earlier that day. 

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Clueby
9 hours ago, EarthQuake said:

Stagg Jr is an excellent consolation prize for those who miss out on George T Stagg proper. Obvious, GTS takes the cake with more depth, complexity, and tends to be absurdly drinkable for the proof, but the family resemblance is there. Stagg Jr is also a great alternative to the somewhat easier, but still hard to find C.E.H. Taylor Barrel proof. IMO, there is very little between Stagg Jr and CEHTBP other than a fancy bottle in a tube.

 

I've not had the early batches of Stagg Jr, but have tried most since batch 7, and all have been very good, and in my mind at least, rather consistent. Sure, there's a bit of per-batch variance, but I'm hard pressed to say that any of the batches have been significantly better or worse than the others. They're all a bit hot out of a new bottle, but once I get down to the halfway mark or so, they tend to be rather lovely.

 

Whenever I get a new batch of Stagg Jr,  I pop it open and try it next to whatever other batch(es) I happen to have open. This is usually the point at which I shake my head at the internet chatter of X batch being best, Y batch being disappointing, etc. It's a fairly small sample size (I've only had a bottle of '17 and '18 so far) but I find GTS to have significantly more variance than Stagg Jr. I really love the 2017 release of GTS, but the 2018 wasn't that much better than a typical Stagg Jr in my mind. I know that's probably blasphemy to say, but there it is.

I agree re 2018 Stagg. I did a sbs with a recent Jr. (9 or 10) and the Jr. was better imo. 

Re CEHT being easier to find, I have never, EVER seen a bottle for sale at any price. I hear about it across the river in Illinois but selling around the $130 to $150 range.. I can find Jr. occasionally at around $55.

I recently did a sbs of a sample of 2018 CEHTBP and SJR and found them NOTHING alike. BP was very corn forward with none of brown sugar and cherry cola I get from Jr. BP was about 2 shades lighter in color and was noticeably thinner feeling and tasting.

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EarthQuake
59 minutes ago, Clueby said:

I agree re 2018 Stagg. I did a sbs with a recent Jr. (9 or 10) and the Jr. was better imo. 

Re CEHT being easier to find, I have never, EVER seen a bottle for sale at any price. I hear about it across the river in Illinois but selling around the $130 to $150 range.. I can find Jr. occasionally at around $55.

I recently did a sbs of a sample of 2018 CEHTBP and SJR and found them NOTHING alike. BP was very corn forward with none of brown sugar and cherry cola I get from Jr. BP was about 2 shades lighter in color and was noticeably thinner feeling and tasting.

I didn't mean to imply that CEHTBP was easy to find, just easier than GTS. A couple years ago I managed to find a CEHTBP just sitting on a shelf at a local store. That never happens with GTS. Well, it doesn't happen anymore with CEHTBP either I suppose, it tends to go into lotteries.

 

Interesting observation on CEHTBP vs Stagg Jr. Admittedly I've only done this comparison once. I think it was a '17 CEHTBP vs maybe a batch 9 Stagg Jr. So small sample size yada yada.

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GoCubs85

What batch is 128.4?  I can't seem to find that one in the list.

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Clueby
42 minutes ago, EarthQuake said:

I didn't mean to imply that CEHTBP was easy to find, just easier than GTS. A couple years ago I managed to find a CEHTBP just sitting on a shelf at a local store. That never happens with GTS. Well, it doesn't happen anymore with CEHTBP either I suppose, it tends to go into lotteries.

 

Interesting observation on CEHTBP vs Stagg Jr. Admittedly I've only done this comparison once. I think it was a '17 CEHTBP vs maybe a batch 9 Stagg Jr. So small sample size yada yada.

OH..thought you meant it was easier to find than Stagg Jr.!  Yeah my sample size is pretty small as well as that is the only CEHTBP I've ever tried.  It wasn't bad, but the Stagg Jr. blew it away.

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marshall9779
What batch is 128.4?  I can't seem to find that one in the list.

Searching on Reddit says batch 13. Just picked one up a few minutes ago. May crack tonight.

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marshall9779

Thought this might be useful for those that don’t know the batch info like me. Couldn’t find on here.

 

And adding Batch 13 that is fall 2019 at 128.4.

 

Batch 12 - (Summer, 2019) - 132.3 proof

 

Batch 11 – (Winter, 2018) – 127.9 Proof

 

Batch 10 – (Spring, 2018) – 126.4 Proof

 

Batch 9 – (Fall, 2017) – 131.9 Proof

 

Batch 8 – (Spring, 2017) – 129.5 Proof

 

Batch 7 – (Fall, 2016) – 130.0 Proof

 

Batch 6 – (Spring, 2016) – 132.5 Proof

 

Batch 5 – (Fall, 2015) – 129.7 Proof

 

Batch 4 – (Spring, 2015) – 132.2 Proof

 

Batch 3 – (Fall, 2014) – 132.1 Proof

 

Batch 2 – (Spring, 2014) – 128.7 Proof Bourbonex.com

 

Batch 1 – (Fall, 2013) – 134.4 Proof

 

https://www.bourbonex.com/forums/topic/21/stagg-jr-release-info-batches

 

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marshall9779

So I purchased and cracked a batch 13 yesterday. I have only had JR on one other occasion about a year and a half ago and wasn’t near into bourbon as I am now. I just remember it being hot. I had heard mixed reviews of earlier batches which lead me to passing on probably batch 11 this past February. Been seeing much more favorable reviews lately so I decided to snag one. I was impressed. Definitely more like a BP BT than tasting like Sr due to the age I’m sure. This one was very good. Drinks well below the proof. Definitely a prominent cherry note and was also getting a strong black tea note toward the end of the glass. Finish lasts for days and then rolls into an after taste that really lingers well after. I have only had GTS 2018 I believe and this one is close to holding its own but doesn’t quite have that caramelized brown sugar to go with the cherry. Will definitely be on the look out more in the future.

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CUfan99

It looks like batch 12 is the best bourbon ever bottled according to the social medias, podcasters, websites and YouTubes. I feel like an over-baked tater with no butter cause I can’t get one!

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Kane
1 hour ago, CUfan99 said:

It looks like batch 12 is the best bourbon ever bottled according to the social medias, podcasters, websites and YouTubes. I feel like an over-baked tater with no butter cause I can’t get one!

True. I call it poor man's pappy.

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CUfan99
21 minutes ago, Kane said:

True. I call it poor man's pappy.

I think that’s been trademarked already.  ^_^

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Richnimrod
3 hours ago, Kane said:

True. I call it poor man's pappy.

DON'T Call It That!!!!!   The shelves will be cleared within hours, if not minutes, if word gets out!

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hugebulge
20 hours ago, CUfan99 said:

It looks like batch 12 is the best bourbon ever bottled according to the social medias, podcasters, websites and YouTubes. I feel like an over-baked tater with no butter cause I can’t get one!

Yea . It's definitely amazing.

 

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CUfan99
3 hours ago, hugebulge said:

Yea . It's definitely amazing.

 

You’re not helping.

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marshall9779

Not seen any reviews of batch 13 which I have. Hoping my county will have batch 12 at their whiskey event next week so I can compare.

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JoeTerp

I think it's pretty silly when Fred Minnick, Jim Murray, or the San Fran awards lead to sudden shifts in market perception, but at least I understand it a little bit.  Breaking Bourbon influencing consumer behavior is a whole new level of insanity to me.

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flahute
10 minutes ago, JoeTerp said:

I think it's pretty silly when Fred Minnick, Jim Murray, or the San Fran awards lead to sudden shifts in market perception, but at least I understand it a little bit.  Breaking Bourbon influencing consumer behavior is a whole new level of insanity to me.

This. In early December I read a good review of it and told myself I should go get some. Got busy. Then Breaking Bourbon calls it bourbon of the year and there's an immediate run for it on all local stores. My local calls the distributor to get some more and they tell him it's now allocated. Ridiculous. It's the phenomena I talk about here frequently - that all of the new blood in bourbon has no interest in taking the journey of trying out everything to find out what they like. They want people to tell them what's good so they can go straight to the top.

Those of us who have been doing this for a very long time don't pay attention to any of the bourbon blogs/websites but the new blood follows them like gospel. 

This run on Stagg Jr. is yet another sign that the boom is still going very, very strong.

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