Everything you need to know about the most popular bourbon whiskey on shelves today. This time: Stagg Jr., the younger sibling of one of the most iconic whiskeys in the world.
What is Stagg Jr.?
Stagg Jr. is a Buffalo Trace Distillery-made, barrel-proof bourbon whiskey. It's one of two bourbons (the other belongs to the Antique Collection) the distillery makes that is named after 19th century bourbon businessman George T. Stagg, who built the distillery that would eventually be renamed Buffalo Trace. Batches have released twice a year, usually with one season in between batches, since the bottle was first released in the fall of 2013. The whiskey is made with Buffalo Trace's Mashbill #1 — the same mash used to make Eagle Rare, mainline E.H. Taylor Jr. bourbon, the brand's eponymous Buffalo Trace bourbon and more.
Why is Stagg Jr. so popular?
Three key factors make Stagg Jr. as popular as it is. First, it's made by Buffalo Trace Distillery, a distillery known for quality to the point that most of its premium products are popular to the point of shelf extinction. Second, it's barrel-proof bourbon, which is exceedingly popular with bourbon enthusiasts for its powerful flavor profile. Third, it's released in batches just twice a year, making it somewhat rare by default. Together, you have rare, barrel-proof Buffalo Trace bourbon, and that's before mentioning how it tastes. Stagg Jr. sells itself.
Where to buy Stagg Jr.?
As with all Buffalo Trace Distillery-produced hooch, Stagg Jr. is on allocation, meaning bottles are not regularly shipped to liquor stores. This, compounded with the fact that Stagg Jr. releases in batches twice a year, means it will not be available year-round for most bourbon drinkers. The best way to find a bottle before a new batch sells out is knowing when your liquor store will be getting bottles. For that, you'll have to establish a relationship with your local store through consistently shopping there and talking to staff. That, and follow batch releases, which Buffalo Trace Distillery posts on its website.
How much is a bottle of Stagg Jr.?
Stagg Jr. is close to $90 to $100 for a bottle these days. Because the product is highly allocated and released in batches a couple times a year, bottle value ebbs with availability in your area (which is not something you can know without scoping out a few stores), but most stores will mark it up because that's how much drinkers are willing to spend on high-proof, mature Buffalo Trace bourbon. Crowdsourced spirits pricing network BoozApp reports that $105 is a fair price.
How old is Stagg Jr.?
The only publicly known difference between Stagg Jr. and its big brother, George T. Stagg, is time spent in barrels. Stagg Jr. is always older than 8 years old, but rarely reaches the double-digit maturation rage. George T. Stagg is typically 15 to 19 years old.
Stagg Jr. batch info
Stagg Jr. releases twice a year and, because it's typically aged for 8 to 9 years and bottled at barrel-proof, maintains a somewhat consistent proof point of around 130. It's also unfiltered, meaning it does not undergo chill filtration, which is a process that removes congeners and "flock" that become cloudy when the whiskey reaches cooler temperatures. Together, this makes for an extremely powerful flavor profile that many would do well to try first with a few drops of water or ice. Expect heat and a savory backbone with a little brown sugar sweetness once you've fought through the first few sips.
- Batch 16: Summer, 2021 - 130.9 proof
- Batch 15: Winter, 2020 - 131.1 proof
- Batch 14: Spring, 2020 - 130.2 proof
- Batch 13: Fall, 2019 - 128.4 proof
- Batch 12: Summer, 2019 - 132.3 proof
- Batch 11: Winter, 2018 - 127.9 Proof
- Batch 10: Spring, 2018 - 126.4 Proof
- Batch 9: Fall, 2017 - 131.9 Proof
- Batch 8: Spring, 2017 - 129.5 Proof
- Batch 7: Fall, 2016 - 130.0 Proof
- Batch 6: Spring, 2016 - 132.5 Proof
- Batch 5: Fall, 2015 - 129.7 Proof
- Batch 4: Spring, 2015 - 132.2 Proof
- Batch 3: Fall, 2014 - 132.1 Proof
- Batch 2: Spring, 2014 - 128.7 Proof
- Batch 1: Fall, 2013 - 134.4 Proof