Monday, December 20, 2010

The Quest for George T. Stagg

While visiting the Buffalo Trace distillery this summer, we saw George T. Stagg being bottled in Blanton's bottling hall.  It was kind of exciting, as this bourbon is part of their Antique Collection, which only comes on once a year in the fall.  And when I asked our tour guide, a retiree from Philadelphia, which Buffalo Trace bourbon was his favorite, he replied "George T. Stagg."  Really?  "Ohhh, yeahhh," he said.  (Nicole does a great impression of him).  I had to get some of this stuff.  I thougth I had seen it last year at a liquor store in Cherry Hill, and one other liquor store had a floating bottle from the 2009 edition, the one rated best bourbon in the world by Jim Murray's Whisky Bible.  That bottle was marked up to $120 (most places charge in the $75-80 range).  What's the big deal with Stagg?  Well, in addition to winning high marks and awards, simply the fact that it's uncut and unfiltered; this years comes in at a whopping 143 proof.  And tons of flavor.  Get your water ready with this stuff. 

I decided the surest way to procure a bottle would be to special order it.  I have ordered alcohol and had it shipped to my house in the past (this is illegal in PA, gotta love the Quaker laws, but I figure I'm under the radar).  This time I chose the website  The customer representative told me if I order it under last year's label when it comes in it will ship on a first come first serve basis.  Several times I emailed to see when it would arrive.  Finally they got their shipment, but wait, they only got 9 bottles when they expected over 40.  Like a lot of the Stagg distillate, I didn't make the cut.  They didn't even notify me until I hounded them, and then they gave me the option to remain on the waiting list for another year, with no guarantee that I would get a bottle at that time.  I demanded my refund and set out to find a solution to this dreadful problem.  My plan was to go to the liquor store that had that leftover bottle and just overpay to get it.  After all, the 2009 was the bourbon of the year, it would be worth it--although in my heart I wanted the 2010 edition, since I saw it being bottled.  I figured it was worth a trip to Total Wine in Cherry Hill, as I needed some other beverages for Christmas gifts and whatnot, and with the vague thought that I may have seen it there last year.  I arrived and, tada!  They had the Stagg.  As well as several others from the Antique Collection.  The Sazerac 18 year rye was already sold out (it was last year's Whisky of the Year, again according to Jim Murray).  But they had the Eagle Rare 18, Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, and the Stagg.  Can't remember if they had the Weller, which is the wheated entry.  Anyhow, I grabbed that Stagg and it's beautiful, tall, wine type bottle, at it's fair, $75 price.  So exciting.

Here's the kicker.  I can't drink it yet.  I have been sick since November 3, and took antibiotics that apparently destroyed my stomach and my taste buds, which have yet to recover.  The quest for Stagg continues...

1 comment:

  1. let me know when you crack the Stagg, I'm interested to see if it lives up to the hype. 143 proof sounds like a beast.