Among bourbon enthusiasts is the annual release of George T. Stagg, a barrel-proof, unfiltered bourbon produced by. Buffalo Trail Distillery Big event in Kentucky. Fans usually pay many times the suggested retail price of $99 if they can find a bottle.
No matter how much they search this year, they will not find it. The distillery planned to announce on Wednesday, for the first time, that it would not be releasing any George T. Stagg bourbon this year, because it wasn’t casks of the 14-year-old whiskey that was made in 2006 and set aside for annual bottling. Up to Stagg standards.
“It just didn’t seem right,” said Drew Mayville, master blender at Buffalo Trace of the uncooperative bourbon. “It didn’t fit the flavor profile we expected from Stagg.”
Mr Mayville described this distinctive flavor as having notes of dark chocolate, leather and dark cherry, but he added that the releases vary slightly from year to year. The 2006 whiskey was too light and undeveloped in character to represent the Stagg brand, which the two-century distillery described as “extremely satisfying,” he said. The company has not yet determined the root cause of the problem.
Each new Stagg release is compared to previously released barrels and sampled by an experienced team of taste testers to ensure consistency. According to Buffalo Trace – it also helps produce the much-loved whiskey Pappy Van Winkle – If a taster gives a negative response, the cask is returned for longer aging.
Mr Mayville said the barrels in question would be set aside and their future progress would be monitored. He said he was considering using 2007 barrels for this year’s release, but decided against it as it would break a longstanding tradition.
A Buffalo Trace spokesperson said delaying Stagg’s release would cost the company millions of dollars in lost sales.
The Stagg shortage is sure to make waves among bourbon fans, who have been known to queue for a bottle at liquor stores. “It’s hard to get anyway, but you can’t get it now,” said Mr Mayville.
George T StaggIntroduced by Buffalo Trace in 2002, named after the 19th century whiskey pioneer. The decision to introduce coarse bourbon envisioned a market for heavy-duty ultra-strength bourbons that would only grow in the coming years. The original version sold for $40, a high price for bourbon at the time.