New Years Eve Head to Head Flight
Saying goodbye to 2021 in style with @amongstthefernsco tonight! These have been some of my most cherished pours of the last year, so it's about time to see how they stack up to each other... I'm going light on the notes and heavy on the enjoyment and really just trying to highlight differences I pick up along the way. For each of the individual pours notes, check out the link at each review title!
Blanton's Straight from the Barrel
Everything I remember and more. Oxygen has done wonders for this pour. Rich, candied plum. Sweet florals and infinite caramel. Drinks zesty and punchy. Cinnamon hots all over. Slightly drying. Lacking the wow factor for me tonight in this lineup. The best notes come in on the long linger with some hot chocolate powder and a wave of caramel drizzle. This one is showing a little bit of proof imbalance later in the glass. My last sip is malty with a touch of citrus. Sharing the glass with Brittany elicited a thumbs up.
Colonel E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof Batch 10
Wow, great butterscotch and caramel on this one. Smells a touch softer and more refined than the Blanton's. Cherry skins and vanilla comes off silky smooth. Orange peel sweetness. The oak intensified with time. Unbelievably soft for the proof still. Doesn't quite have the richness of the GTS. Wow, the nose on this has developed marvelously later in the glass. This leans on some faint herbal notes now; it's less pungent than the Stagg Jr, but very close in quality. I readily drank a good bit more of this than the Stagg Jr, which I think is testament to the quality of this. My last sip is filled with rich stone fruit, orange peel and sugary bread pudding. Brittany smelled a bit of linen on this one. Upon tasting it she gave a really enthusiastic thumbs up with eyebrows raised.
2020 George T Stagg
Woah, I can tell this one is starting to get oxidized a bit. White linen, sweet plum, apricot and leather. Deep depths of oak. Holy. Moly. Nothing has this much flavor. Rich oak, leather, molasses and toffee chews. Skittles candy sweetness now. Just lovely. A bit of sweet fruit smoke shows up on the nose after a long rest. The sweetness on this has developed almost to a perfume level. Nothing else carries the weight this does on the palate for me. It's a wave that turns into a bomb that finally sizzles off indefinitely; it has something beyond effervescence. One sip of this yields flavorful satisfaction for several minutes. My last sip is like a bakers dozen donuts. Vanilla frosting, leather, tobacco, raspberry, cherry hots and honey lingers on and on. Brittany sipped this and thought this was a little too spicy for her palate. The smokiness I also experienced was a unique change of pace for her.
Stagg Jr Batch 17
This comes off the lightest of all on depth and complexity. The aromas are easy going and all nestled into a deep oak that won't reveal its secrets quite yet. Vanilla and toffee forward on the nose now. Drinks softer than the Blanton's and just as loaded with flavor. This has the chest rising long linger that the George T Stagg has as well but with less balanced flavors. Woah, after refreshing my palate with some water this took on a rich butterscotch and nutty profile that reminds me of a sundae. This pour feigns like it's about to be hot but then it is absolutely not. The late nose is riddled with confectionary sugar and bakery vibes. This definitely has more flavor than the Taylor, but it's just a hair lower in quality. The brown sugar bomb comes off just a little too spicy. This is a barrel proof lovers delight. It's than little bit of flashy over-proofed linger that knocks this down just below the Taylor. Brittany gave this one an aggressive thumbs up.
Final Ranking: 1. George T Stagg 2. E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof 3. Stagg Jr 4. Blanton's
Bonus Brittany ranking:
1. Stagg Jr
2. E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof
4. George T Stagg
She likes the sweeter, less spicy stuff for reference!
I've been meaning to do this tasting for a while. I'm a bit saddened the Straight from the Barrel didn't do as well as some of the other single barrel offerings I've tried; this particular offering doesn't quite stack up. I am glad I did this because that Stagg Jr batch had captured my heart on a fresh palate, but this lineup helped put everything in perspective. In reality - the best whiskey is the one that's in your glass. Enjoy folks and see you in 2022!