I said goodbye to an old friend last night, George T Stagg. It was the 2011 edition, 142.6 proof, 18 years and five months old. Put in the barrel about 24 years ago. It was my first “special” bourbon. Yes, I nursed this bottle. That’s why it has lasted five and a half years. My first limited edition, my first BTAC, my first high proof bourbon.
In 2011, my bourbon journey was progressing. Buffalo Trace was my favorite, and my knowledge of bourbon was expanding rapidly. In the fall of 2010, I had purchased my first copy of “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.” It was an eye opener. I didn’t’ know that there were that many bourbons out there. That is where I first read about William Larue Weller and George T Stagg.
In the fall of 2011, I purchased my second copy of the Whisky Bible. I noticed that George T Stagg was listed as the second-best whiskey in the world and the world’s best bourbon. I thought to myself, “Could I possibly find a bottle of this? I had never come across before in the liquor stores I frequented.
Out came the laptop and the research started. I found a liquor store in Frederick, MD that listed George T Stagg in their inventory. I gave them a call and asked if they had such a bottle and the answer was, “We have one left.” They agreed to my request to hold it for me until the next day.
The next morning, I set out for the store, about 45 minutes from my home. It was snowing, a heavy wet snow but luckily it was mostly slush and not sticking to the roads. I made it the store, and they still had my bottle of George T Stagg. I paid for it, $70 and headed back home. Yes, it was $70, the world’s best bourbon, coming home with me. Times have changed, haven’t they?
That evening I cracked it open and tried it out, lots of oak and creamy vanilla. A long, warming finish. Very, very nice. It took me an hour and a half to finish that first pour. A friend to hang out with.
Yes, I nursed that bottle for quite a while. It came out on special occasions for special pours. As my bourbon collection grew and the number of high-end bourbons in the collection increased, it still held a special place. A king among kings.
Last night I pulled out the bottle and poured for the last time. It still had lots of oak and creamy vanilla. What a great bottle of bourbon.
Goodbye old friend.