stagg jr batch 14 review

Stagg Jr Batch 14

stagg-jr-batch-14 compressed v2

Distillery: Buffalo Trace

Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA

Alcohol: 65.1%

Composition: Bourbon mash #1, speculated to be ~10% rye

Aged: NAS

Color: 1.4/2.0 on the color scale (russet muscat)

Price: $50-60

From the Buffalo Trace website:

 

“George T. Stagg built the most dominant American distillery of the 19th century, during a time known as the Gilded Age of Bourbon. Uncut and unfiltered, this robust bourbon whiskey ages for nearly a decade and boasts the bold character that is reminiscent of the man himself.”

Company Website

stagg jr batch 14 overview

Stagg Jr is one of my favorite bourbons, especially at MSRP or close to it, and I’m not even going to try to hide my adoration. I try my best to keep a few bottles on hand if I can, but unfortunately it gets more difficult to do by the month. Anyways, this time I’m reviewing Stagg Jr batch 14, clocking in at an ample 65.1% ABV. Each batch is truly cask strength and small batch as every release has a different ABV and personality. I’ve reviewed batch 7 and batch 10 already (and loved it), so let’s dive into another batch in this Stagg Jr batch 14 review. 

stagg jr batch 14 smell

Stagg Jr Batch 14 smells so nice – dark honey, ripe peach and cherry, vanilla frosting, spiced apple and orange, a lot of charred oak and cinnamon, and more subtle hints of licorice. I really dig all that fruitiness with a thick layer of oak and spice. Don’t get me wrong, 65.1% is no laughing matter, but there really isn’t so much heat after resting it for 45 minutes. At the same time, be forewarned that it will still punch you in the face if you rush it.

 

Swirling coaxes out more musty oak, cocoa powder, and darker licorice to the front, followed by dark honey, dried citrus peel, baked apples, cinnamon, lightly roasted vanilla frosting, brown sugar, charred oak, rosemary, and thyme. Even getting past that there still are hints of candied walnuts, dates, roasted coconut, and this hard to define dark fruitiness. I occasionally smell moments when the fruitiness, sweetness, and light earthiness make it smell like a wine-finished rum. The alcohol is fairly calm, but not totally absent, as long as you let it rest. All I can really say is that Stagg Jr smells great. 

stagg jr batch 14 taste & aftertaste

Stagg Jr comes out swinging with huge honey, citrus, apple, vanilla, oak, and cinnamon with less licorice. The heat comes with some bite, but I’m still able to manage it. This bourbon makes a big entrance.

 

“Chewing” brings the same big honey sweetness with a little more citrus, apple, vanilla, licorice, rosemary, thyme, dark berries, oak and cinnamon with hints of cotton candy. The dark berries give me the impression of a brief wine finish. A little more herbal licorice, earthy rosemary, and thyme come more to the front as well, but it’s far from what EH Taylor Barrel Proof has. Overall, Stagg Jr has a great blend of sugar, fruit, earth, oak, and spice that I want from mature and well-blended / made bourbon. Subsequent sips become a little more dark and oaky, and I really like how each sip changes with time, which is another telltale sign of great bourbon. I also notice that Stagg Jr doesn’t have anywhere near the same oiliness and viscosity as 2020’s EH Taylor Barrel Proof, so I wonder if it is chill filtered. Regardless, Stagg Jr tastes great and continues the streak of excellent releases that I’m glad to have been able to experience.

 

The finish is oakier with honey, orange, apple, cinnamon, and coffee grounds that fades into a dried citrus and apple peel, almost as if it were apple brandy finished. Yeah, I’ve mentioned finishes a few times, so Stagg Jr is definitely an interesting bourbon. “Chewing” leaves a light tingling sensation from the alcohol with a mix of roasted oak, licorice, honey, vanilla, dried citrus peel, and cinnamon that all build with each sip. 

Place on the Whiskey Shelf

Top Shelf

Stagg Jr Batch 14 is yet another excellent release from Buffalo Trace, but from memory I think I’ve had better batches. Still, this is one of the best bourbons out there at the $50-60 MSRP…if the stars align and you’re lucky enough to find it at all as it’s becoming even more difficult to find by the day. Stagg Jr is one of my favorites because it always expertly balances rich and developed sugar, fruit, herbal, oak, and spice while mostly controlling that near hellfire-like ABV…as long as you give it time and ease into it. Then again, most 60+% ABV whiskey will attack you if you rush into it.

 

I don’t like that I’m promoting a bourbon that’s already hard to find and will become even more difficult to obtain, but I have to do it. Stagg Jr Batch 14 is great and worth drinking if you can find it at a price you’re willing to pay. Now if you can’t find Stagg Jr, I really think that Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon could be similar enough to be a great substitute. That thought is for another time though.

Become a Patron to support all the great content to come. Support here.

Other Reviews