George T. Stagg 2012

George T. Stagg 2012 2

So as I’ve said before, I am not the Bourbon drinker in my family. That’d be my dad. Neither of us like beer, he likes red wine and I like dessert wine, and he drinks Bourbon, and I drink Canadian/Scotch. And we get along on that giving each other sips of each others favourites.

So when my father asked me to go hunting for George T. Stagg 2012 last year, I was up for the challenge. I wanted to try it, and he wanted to have it when his buddy came in from Kentucky (where it was out) (red flag #1).

At first, it looked like the local LCBO had some bottles, and I was in luck, as they had some bottles… or at least they said they did on the website. Which you’ll learn quickly when dealing with them means that the bottles are either put aside or don’t actually exist.

I kept looking, yet found out that the Province of Ontario (~38% of the population of Canada) ended up with 12 bottles of the stuff (red flag #2).

Then /r/Bourbon[1] went crazy for it (red flag #3). My chances of picking up a bottle, let alone 2, were slim.

And then I found a dram in a hipster bar in Manchester, and had some with breakfast (review done before the food was eaten).

George T. Stagg 2012 1

Price: Can’t find any here…. even though I’ve tried

Region: Kentucky

Abv: 71.4%

Colour: Dark stained cherry wood

Nose: Beehive, smokey, cherry, cereal, good caramel, sea air, buttery, pumpkin pie, fresh hot maple syrup on the snow

It really reminds me of walking into an apiary for the first time, which as someone who loves honey a little too much, that’s amazing.

Taste: Butter, caramel, habanero, dark maple syrup, basil, artichoke, sweet potato, dry pear

I was expecting to be overwhelmed by the high Abv., however this is super smooth and sweet. There’s a nice mixture of earthiness as well to balance out the sweetness. Very, very good.

I need to find some bottles of the 2013 (everyone needs a white whale).

Finish: Yams, brown butter, caramel, sweet bourbon vanilla, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, soft cotton candy, parsley, light mint

Yeah, I know, saying “bourbon vanilla” in a bourbon review shouldn’t be allowed, however that’s what it reminded me of, so I’m leaving it in.

The bourbon continues to have a great balance between sweetness (good quality sweetness at that) and the earthiness, which I usually find overly bitter.

Conclusion: What can I say that hasn’t been said before? This is 12 years of near perfection. It is sweet and earthy, has a brilliant Abv., loses no flavours, and deserves all the praise it gets. If I had to level anything against it, I want a few more spices in the taste. Seriously though, this is the second best bourbon I’ve ever had (I’ll review the best soon).

90/100

Bourbon review #9, Kentucky #7, Whiskey Network review #127

1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #73

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