Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

George T Stagg

All your whisky related questions answered here.

George T Stagg

Postby mr_a_non » Thu Jul 28, 2005 11:10 pm

In the last few weeks I have taken myself to a couple of bourbon tastings and have seen a true mix: from the grim to the rather nice. I have managed to get hold of blantons, bookers and a few oither good bottlings; however, I am still after a bottle of George T Stagg.

I cannot find it anywhere in the UK and only on a few US websites (who don't deliver to the UK). Park Avenue Liquors stock it at $100, but in most places it is sub-$45.

If there is anyone knows where I can buy a bottle, I would be very happy! Alternatively, Customs and Excise in your area allowing, I would be more than happy to send someone a bottle of something they can't find/get in their area, if they are interested in a swap!
mr_a_non
New member
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2004 8:36 pm
Location: London, England

Postby mbanu » Thu Jul 28, 2005 11:33 pm

Stagg is hard to find in the States, too. :) Good luck.

Something that might be similar, if aged barrel proof bourbon is your thing, is trying to get ahold of the 15 year old barrel proof Heaven Hill bourbon that Cadenhead bottled a while back.
mbanu
New member
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:41 am
Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Postby Wendy » Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:03 am

Why is George T. Stagg so difficult to get hold of? Thanks.
Cheers,
Wendy
Wendy
Gold Member
 
Posts: 704
Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 2:17 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:37 am

Because his cell phone is turned off.

Actually, I believe it is a limited once-a-year bottling. The bourbonnières will undoubtedly set us both straight.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:58 am

In fact, Buffalo Trace may have made a mistake with an unscheduled spring release of about 9,000 bottles (the largest production ever) of George T. Stagg -- it has become a commodity on Ebay, showing up in ever-increasing numbers and bringing $150 or so a bottle. I purchased/traded for 7 bottles when at its retail of $50-$55, and even recently bought a much rarer 2002 (first-year issue) bottle at its original $42.95 retail price.
Anyway, it's a favorite bourbon -- issued at barrel proof, up to 142.7 proof (71.35 abv) in 2003 -- of almost anyone who's tried it. Previous bottlings have been in the 2,500-4,000-bottle range, and it will be bottled again next month. It and its Antique Collection partners -- Sazerac 18yo rye and Eagle Rare 17yo bourbon -- are generally released annually in September, in limited bottlings.
The UK generally gets 150 bottles or so, but beyond that, export is severely limited by domestic demand/supply.
Last edited by Deactivated Member on Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby mr_a_non » Fri Jul 29, 2005 12:17 pm

I was informed myself by a not-so-helpful store assistant in Fort Myers, Florida, that I "didn't stand a chance". Well thanks for that vote! I know it is very limited release or I wouldn't spend so much time trying to track one down, would I!? Needless to say he got my back up a bit (even if he might be right).

Anyway, as I said: still looking for a bottle. Anyone got any ideas yet!
mr_a_non
New member
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2004 8:36 pm
Location: London, England

Postby bamber » Fri Jul 29, 2005 3:56 pm

Make friends with someone like thewhiskyexchange or the Vintage house. Regular customers are usually given first refusal but if you pester them and pay up front you will get a bottle. Expect to pay around £115 however :(

Is it worth it ? If you're a big Bourbon fan and completeness of experience is important to you I would say it is. Otherwise there are plenty of other great American whiskies that are easier to get here than the US, that you should check out first.

I checked out importing it and it works out much cheaper, including air fair and customs. Some places will export to the UK but ur going to need to pre-order for the next release.

Stagg is my 2nd favourite whisky of all time. I've had 3 bottles and I suspect that will be it unless I emigrate to the US one day.
User avatar
bamber
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1913
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 3:57 pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Postby bond » Fri Jul 29, 2005 4:02 pm

A very basic question: what exactly is it? Sounds remarkably premium... and exciting.
bond
Gold Member
 
Posts: 513
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 1:29 pm
Location: New Delhi, India

Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:41 pm

George T. Stagg is a barrel-proof, non-filtered (you'll find bits of char in the bottles sometimes), extra-aged bourbon. It has ranged up to the current release's 16 years, 8 months of age, and between 129 proof (64.5% abv) and 142.7 (71.35% abv), but hovers around 15 years old. Despite its high proof, it can be sipped neat -- though it holds its flavor profile remarkable well when diluted down to around 90 proof, too. While barrels are selected to match a general taste profile, there are subtle differences in the palates of the varying issues, but are generally 'big' bourbon, with the standard rye floral and spice notes, as well as barrel-induced leather, tobacco, dark fruit, caramel, overripe banana, citrus and maple tones.
Its complexity makes it a wonderful drink to ponder over time, as both the nose and taste transform through several stages as they aerate.
Heavenly stuff, truly.
It is made by Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby DaveM » Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:59 pm

GTS is a remarkably unique bourbon whiskey - bottled at full barrel strength (barrel proof), uncut, and unfiltered, ranging from 15 to 16 years old (depending on the release).

Since its first appearance on the market in 2002, it has unfortunately gained a cult following and due to its limited bottling, and consequently it is now extremely hard to come by (for mere mortals, that is).

You have to be in the right place at precisely the right time, or pay an exhorbitant premium on ebay. Now if you lived in Kentucky, or were lucky enough to be there during the time of its release, you could drive to all the liquor outlets possible and buy it up by the 6-bottle case. I suspect this has come to an end, many retailers will only sell a 2-bottle maximum to any one customer, in an attempt to help spread it around. Ocassionally you can purhase it in a bar in Kentucky for approx. $20 a glass.

You have to realize that with a unique product of this nature, finding or creating more supply is simply impossible.

Having enjoyed both the 2002 and 2004 expressions, I would have to say that it is by far the most exquisite spirit to ever pass this humble mortal's lips.

Jim Murray (love him or hate him) claims it is his favourite whisk(e)y and in the past has rated it tops in the world.

View the entire antique collection here, the accompanying text is weak.

http://www.greatbourbon.com/antiquecollection.html
DaveM
New member
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:00 pm
Location: Victoria Canada, Whistler, Maui

Postby DaveM » Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:15 pm

Hey Tim, you beat me to it! You must be a faster typer then I. :lol:
DaveM
New member
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2005 8:00 pm
Location: Victoria Canada, Whistler, Maui

Postby Lawrence » Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:21 pm

There will be GTS at the Buffalo Trace Masterclass during the Victoria Whisky Festival, Saturday January 21st, 2006.

I'll be there.
Lawrence
Matured cask
 
Posts: 5019
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Jul 30, 2005 2:03 am

DaveM wrote:Hey Tim, you beat me to it! You must be a faster typer then I. :lol:


Nah, Dave -- I had the advantage of having it right in front of me :D . I have 17 bottles (at least 2 of each issue), with the '04 and this spring's 131.8-proof version currently open! Can you tell I like it?:wink:

An insignificant quibble: Stagg and the other Antique Collection bottlings are distributed in 3-bottle cases, not 6. Each box has the bottling date hand-written on it.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby bond » Sat Jul 30, 2005 7:04 am

I was somehow led to understand, that by virtue of being casked in first-fill barrels, bourbon aged greater than 10-12 years was thrown out of balance since the wood was overwhelming.

Is George.... an exception or was this one of the several misconceptions that I have, waiting to be corrected?
bond
Gold Member
 
Posts: 513
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 1:29 pm
Location: New Delhi, India

Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Jul 30, 2005 3:36 pm

Barrels don't age uniformly in Kentucky bourbon warehouses. Barrels on the upper floors and outside edges of rickhouses exposed to the elements 'cycle' more quickly and age faster because of the greater summer/winter temperature variations. Even the rickhouse location -- on a hill or in a valley, for example -- plays a role. So, yes, some barrels would age too greatly in 15 years to be drinkable -- those barrels are dumped earlier/younger.
And, some warehouses are temperature-controlled and closed to the elements -- this is the case at Buffalo Trace -- to more precisely control aging.
There are a number of very nice, older bourbons: Pappy Van Winkle 23yo Family Reserve, its 20yo and 15yo sibling, Elijah Craig 18yo, Eagle Rare 17yo, Evan Williams 15yo, and others. Heaven Hill even sells a 23yo Evan Williams in its gift shop and in Japan, which also sees occasional bottlings of a 28yo EW.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Crispy Critter » Sun Jul 31, 2005 1:48 am

Count me in as another Stagg fan. I have one opened Spring '05 bottle, a case of three more, and an unopened '04 bottle, and I also emptied an earlier Spring '05 bottle...

Interestingly, according to the data sheet packed with the three-pack, its proof increased as it aged. I guess it was hot enough in the warehouse that the angels needed extra water. :)

Even if you aren't fortunate enough to get your hands on a bottle of Stagg, I'd say that anything from Buffalo Trace is likely to be, if not top-shelf, then very close to it. I've never been let down by the ones I've tried.
Crispy Critter
Silver Member
 
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 4:50 am
Location: Chicago

Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Jul 31, 2005 5:20 am

Crispy Critter wrote:...Interestingly, according to the data sheet packed with the three-pack, its proof increased as it aged...

Unlike Scotch in the cooler, less humid climes of Scotland, this is always the case with bourbon in Kentucky. That is why it can't legally be entered into the barrel at more than 125 proof, although in previous eras -- e.g., post-Prohibition through the '60s -- it often was barreled as low as the low-90s in proof.
Evaporation certainly plays a role -- distillers estimate that about 8% of the bourbon is lost in the first year of aging (when the charred barrel is most absorbent), 3%-5% annually thereafter. This is, as you allude, referred to as the "angels' share". Since water evaporates faster than alcohol, what remains has a higher alcohol content.
And, yes, for those of you sharp mathematicians out there -- that means when they unbarrel, say, Pappy 23yo this December, there will only be 30%-40% (90-100 bottles) of the original distillate left in the 53-(U.S)gallon barrel. That partially explains why it costs so much -- the price of storage and taxes (yes, the distilleries pay state property tax annually on their barreled whiskey) over 23 years is dear!
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 01, 2005 12:57 am

Water evaporates faster than alcohol? I don't think so. Leave a dram out overnight and see what's left in the morning. This increasing proof is a peculiar thing at first glance, and there must be an explanation for it. Does new wood absorb water more than alcohol? Does it wick the water more in warm weather? Is the ratio of water/alcohol loss constant over the life of the barrel?
Deactivated Member
 

Postby mbanu » Mon Aug 01, 2005 3:30 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:Water evaporates faster than alcohol? I don't think so. Leave a dram out overnight and see what's left in the morning.


Typically the same dram I started with, only with some dead fruit flies in the bottom of the glass. :) That is of course, assuming nobody snuck in and tossed it back in the dead of night.
mbanu
New member
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:41 am
Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:20 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:Water evaporates faster than alcohol? I don't think so...


You are correct, and my wording is suspect: I should have written water evaporates 'through the wood' faster than alcohol, because of the differing size of the respective molecules -- or so I'm told by chemists. I am not one.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:11 pm

I thought perhaps that you didn't mean to word it that way. It seems obvious that temperature is a factor, that being a major difference between maturation in Tennessee and Scotland. But the obvious answer is not always the correct one. Hopefully someone out there can get us the straight poop (120 proof!).
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Ed » Tue Aug 02, 2005 3:58 pm

Here is a very interesting thread over on StraightBourbon.com on how it all works. The best posts are by people who really seem to know what they are talking about. A number of chemists weigh in here and nitpick over the fine points of what is going on in all those barrels in Kentucky.

http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads-6.5/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/26472/an/0/page/0#26472[/code]


Ed
Ed
Silver Member
 
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:33 pm
Location: Japan (American)

Postby mr_a_non » Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:00 pm

Just had an interesting email from a chap at the distillery. The next release ought to be in the UK in about a month and both Milroys and The Whisky Exchange will be sent an allocation.

This at least means I can get a bottle BUT it does mean that I have to pay full-whack! Apparently it will be £100-£150 a bottle!!! In the US, at a rough exchange rate it is less than £30!

So I presume nobody knows a US place that will ship to UK? Just my luck. Hmm, to save up or just live without? Suggestions?
mr_a_non
New member
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2004 8:36 pm
Location: London, England

Postby Ed » Fri Aug 05, 2005 7:26 am

I got the Spring Stagg from Binny's in Chicago. I had it shipped to an American address and then picked it up when I was home on vacation. I asked if they would ship to Japan and they said that they had in the past and would if I asked them to, but that it was very expensive. They never did tell me how much it would be so I can't give you an estimate nor am I sure that they can ship to the UK, still, it might be worth checking out.
Ed
Ed
Silver Member
 
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:33 pm
Location: Japan (American)

Postby bjorn » Wed Aug 10, 2005 8:23 am

i recently bought a bottle of stagg, but i noticed that there is no indication on the bottle itself which release it is from. is there anywhere i can go to figure out which year it was released?
bjorn
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 160
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 2:58 am

Postby bamber » Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:23 am

The proof. 2002 - 137.6, 2003 - 143.7, 2004 - 129, 2005 - 131.8
User avatar
bamber
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1913
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 3:57 pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Postby mr_a_non » Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:56 am

New stock in Milroy's at £110 a bottle. To me, this seems outrageously marked-up. Even at US retail price, Fedex shipping on one bottle, import tax and duty, it still reaches nothing like this price. (However, it is not as bad as Milk & Honey who are selling it at £30 a dram in Soho!)
mr_a_non
New member
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2004 8:36 pm
Location: London, England

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:37 pm

It could be worse. I paid £160 including shipping on ebay for what the seller clearly described as the 2002 bottling - which I thought would have been a fair price. However, the seller sent me a 2005 bottling. When I complained, he became extremely abusive, giving a work address at a NYC Legal Practice (like that would scare me in Scotland!) and claimed that it was all the same stuff and the distillery had told him so. I pointed out that the proof he had cited was wrong and that he had explicitly stated that this bottling had won awards that went to the 2002 bottling. The seller spun this out for just long enough to pass the paypal refund date (one lives and learns) and then he offered a refund. I asked whether this would include shipping costs each way and he replied (in capital letters) that it would not because I had already cost him too much time and money. I am taking this up with ebay, but they have quite a low compensation limit and take a slice off for the privilege. Besides, I am not confident that they would understand the difference between bottlings.

Lessons there for all of us.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby bamber » Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:41 pm

I sent you a pm where they have it for £99. Personally I'd go for it if you are a bourbon fan and you've not had it. Having said that, I have decided not to buy another bottle that price.
User avatar
bamber
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1913
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 3:57 pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Postby Ed » Wed Aug 10, 2005 2:13 pm

Remember, too, even if you can't get the Spring 2005 Stagg at a place like Binny's, they are likely out, you may well be able to get some of the Fall release that is coming up, there or elsewhere. BTW. as far as I know, it never showed up on their site. I emailed the guy in charge of their Spirits Department before they even got their allotment.
Ed
Ed
Silver Member
 
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:33 pm
Location: Japan (American)

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Aug 10, 2005 5:54 pm

Nick Brown wrote:...I am taking this up with ebay, but they have quite a low compensation limit and take a slice off for the privilege. Besides, I am not confident that they would understand the difference between bottlings.

Lessons there for all of us.


Sorry you went through that -- there has been a run of overpriced Stagg on Ebay lately obviously posted by speculators who had no intention other than making as much money as they can from it. Very irritating to those of us who actually drink the stuff -- though, I'm lucky to have 17 bottles in the house of the various issues.
If Ebay understood Stagg, they wouldn't even allow it for sale -- it's against their policy to allow currently-available issues, and almost all of the recent bottles are 2005, which still can be found on shelves here and there in the U.S.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:27 am

TNbourbon wrote:Very irritating to those of us who actually drink the stuff -- though, I'm lucky to have 17 bottles in the house of the various issues.


I fully intend to drink the stuff but limit myself to one cask strength Bourbon at a time. I currently have a bottle of Bookers open and it has magical qualities - no matter how many drams I take, the level barely seems to go down. I cannot believe the Stagg - or any other whisky - could be as good as the Bookers...

Out of interest, if a genuine 2002 bottling ever came up, what would be a fair price?
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:12 pm

Nick Brown wrote:...Out of interest, if a genuine 2002 bottling ever came up, what would be a fair price?


I've seen them sell several times in the past 6 months or so for U.S. $250-$300. Unbelievably, I found one last month still on an out-of-the-way store shelf for under $45. It is my second example, so now I can open one and taste it -- it remains, reputedly, the best of the Stagg issues so far.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:36 pm

TNbourbon wrote:I've seen them sell several times in the past 6 months or so for U.S. $250-$300.


If they were sold by jdg6d on ebay in the past 6 months then they may well have been 2005 Stagg in disguise.
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:08 pm

Nick Brown wrote:...If they were sold by jdg6d on ebay in the past 6 months then they may well have been 2005 Stagg in disguise.


An authentic 2002 is getting extremely scarce at retail -- I would have said they're extinct until finding that recent one. The current run of current Stagg on Ebay began about a month ago. I suspect much of it -- even when properly described and dated -- is bringing such a high price because it's going overseas. You folks seem to be more attuned to paying that kind of money for whisk(e)y. I guess if you regularly pay the equivalent of U.S. $200 for the best items available, you just do it. But in bourbon, only a tiny few bottles top $75, including those deemed 'best'. Stagg is definitely in that top plateau populated by only a handful of bourbons for me -- but I wouldn't pay over $75 for it. In fact, I've never paid $55 for a bottle.
Deactivated Member
 

Return to Questions & Answers

Whisky gift and present finder