It's time for another Stagg (Jr) batch! This one is a bit of a head scratcher, coming onto the scene in early 2023 bearing the label "22A"... This comes significantly later than the bottle labeled 22B, and was almost immediately followed up with a 23A batch that has started to circulate as well. If the batches have your head spinning, here is a table with all the batch information I have, the proof of the release and the approximate release date.
Alright, let's dive in on 22A and see if this batch is a little more impressive than 22B was.
Company on Label: Buffalo Trace
Whiskey Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Buffalo Trace Mash Bill #1 (Low Rye < 10%)
Age: NAS (~8 years)
Further identification: Batch 22A shows no new bottle or label design changes
Nose: Brown sugar, leather and browned butter proliferate in a rich nose-feel that jumps right out of the glass. Savory-sweet confectioner's delights abound as delicious aromas of crème brûlée and maple candied bacon continue to pour out of my glencairn. Touches of smoke and black pepper suggest a heavy oak influence to come. Let's have a sip before we keep going.
Coming back to the glass I find bountiful molasses, graham cracker and more brown sugar than the glass started with. A lovely note of cinnamon and warm apple pie cannot be shaken once found. The nose is wonderfully approachable straight through to the end. The empty glass smells of smoky and earthy honey.
Palate: From my first sip I find classic Stagg notes: cherry hots, cinnamon and rich oak. The heft is not shy with this one. It does everything barrel proof Kentucky bourbon should do: it's big & bold, it sizzles in the mouth, and it gives a wonderful chest hug on the way down. Subtle tones of sweet candied apple sit in the linger. Easing back in for another sip shows off leather, plum and raisin. The mouthfeel is a bit drying as all 132.2 proof points creep across the taste buds like black treacle. Late in the glass I find that the heft subsides, but the long linger remains. Browned butter and cinnamon are still the main hallmarks of this fairly reputable profile. As the glass mixes with oxygen over time I find creamy vanilla tones start to layer in. My last sip is loaded with oak and cherry skins. It sinks through me like liquid warmth highlighting raspberry and simple syrup. Overall I'm left feeling like this is a solid sipper, but not overly remarkable.
TL;DR: Crushable, classic Buffalo Trace bourbon
This is probably the first Stagg batch that I would really call "crushable". Batch 16 was close - though it came across simple, but this has plenty of flavor without getting too hot. I've shared this with a few friends already and it's been nothing but good feedback.