Back in 2020 a group raised $150000 for St. Jude as part of an auction and got to pick the first 2 barrels of Stagg Jr released to the public. The second barrel picked ended up being released first and I was part of a group that got to split a bottle. I am in the middle of moving so the only thing I had on hand that I could reasonably compare this too is a Blanton’s Straight From The Barrel. The SFTB was only 129 proof so I tasted it first then the Jr.
Nose: Proof sting, cola, rich oak and caramel.
Taste: Powerful flavors with cola, baking spice, oak, rye spice, caramel and tobacco. Great mouthfeel and proof integration.
Finish: Long, warm and dry finish with oak and baking spice notes balanced by a bit of sticky caramel.
This pick was very, very good and easily bested the SFTB. It was on the darker side of the Buffalo Trace profile with the cola, tobacco and oak notes but none of the bright cherry I often get from Buffalo Trace including from the SFTB today. It was hard to capture in the tasting notes but what really stood out about this wasn’t the flavor notes themselves but the intensity of the flavor without it being overly hot. This had to be from a high floor on the rickhouse given the proof and flavor profile but it wasn’t overpoweringly hot.
TL;DR: Big and bold with intense flavors. It’s a winner.
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