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Stagg Junior Batch 13 Review - A Long Term Perspective from a Self-Proclaimed Stagg Man


Stagg Junior Batch 13 Comes in at 128.4 Proof

Batch 13 comes right on the heels of what was widely received as one of the best Stagg batches, with many enthusiasts finding the profile of an ultra-aged bourbon we're used to finding on the more senior George T. Stagg bottling. What a tough act to follow. This batch was perhaps doomed from the start, given the high expectations that come with proximity to greatness. I pride myself on being able to throw out expectations, however, offering a standardized approach to evaluating whiskey that puts honesty paramount. So, what does batch 13 taste like? Let's jump into a glass and find out.


 

Company on Label: Buffalo Trace

Whiskey Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: Buffalo Trace Mash Bill # 1 (Low Rye < 10%)

Proof: 128.4°

Age: NAS (~8-12 years)

Further identification: Batch 13 was the Winter 2019 release of Stagg Jr that originally dropped at an MSRP of $60; this batch followed what has commonly been referred to as the best Stagg Jr batch


 

Nose: Barrel funk and distinct cinnamon heat singe the nostrils on the first inhale. Brown sugar and dull earthiness follow. This glass presents quite bright, sharp, and hot. Vanilla bean and ethanol pervade the senses. Having experienced quite a bit of this bottle through the years, I know I'm ready to move into a sip.


Light oak, white florals, and hints of linen come into the fray after returning from a few sips. Deep inhales are reminiscent of cardboard. I struggle to find much else other than a bit of sugary, candied strawberry late in the glass. The empty glencairn smells of salt and vinegar potato chips and light oak influence.


Palate: My first taste of batch 13 offers cherry hots, cinnamon, anise, and sharp black pepper. It's classic Stagg Junior at its core, but rather unbalanced, perhaps reminiscent of some of the earliest batches. The mouthfeel is sticky, but the unmitigated proof upsets the stomach. Another sip proves to be quotidian at best and a downright mess at worst. It flashes between heat and very little complex flavor, though I can't pretend it's not a classic Kentucky bourbon profile. Cherry, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and a touch of tannic grape swing through on the powerful flavor wave. The linger is full of dry bread and graham cracker, ultimately coming across as a bit stale. Sipping near the bottom of the glass coalesces into comfort as vanilla frosting and strawberry cereal are a soothing change of pace. At my last sip, I'm vaguely satisfied with my sip, but certainly not floored. Milk duds, spent coffee grounds, and another flash of graham cracker land rather flat on the tongue. The finish is medium in length, with the graham cracker character persisting the longest.


TL;DR: Insipid bourbon that comes off hot and unbalanced at times


 

Rating: 2/5


This has to be the weakest performance of any Stagg Jr batch I've tried thus far. While I've been able to explore this thoroughly and share it with friends many times since it was first released in 2019, this batch has never called to me. Perhaps batch 13 is best used in a cocktail.

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