We finally revisited Stagg Jr. last year after a long hiatus. Looking back, I guess it’s surprising that it took so long for a younger George T. Stagg bourbon to gain collectible, cult status, but now the obsession with this bottle is making it even hard for us to find a sample. Luckily, I secured a bit of the latest release, Batch 15, which made its debut at the tail end of 2020. We’ll do our level best to keep you updated on future releases, at least until the money runs out. As always, this is an 8 year old bourbon bottled at barrel strength and likely marked up to at least twice the suggested retail price (or more).
On the nose, this Stagg Jr. evokes less woodshop than previous releases, with an aroma that is almost muted by comparison. But give it time, and syrupy molasses and brown sugar notes develop and stick to the inside of the glass. There’s a familiar BBQ element to it, but it’s sweet and mildly smoky with subtle mesquite and black pepper notes. The palate is bold with generous clove and a minty, dark chocolate note reminiscent of York Peppermint Patties. It’s warming to the core, with the fabled “Kentucky hug” on full display. Juicy black cherry arrives on the mid-palate just as that smoldering heat starts to reignite into the generous finish, adding warmth to a cabinet full of baking spice, black tea, and licorice. Another winner.