Whiskey forums are a buzz with the news that Buffalo Trace might be tinkering with a Stagg Jr. bourbon. About a month and a half ago it was unveiled that Buffalo Trace had submitted an application to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Tax & Trade Bureau for a product called ‘Stagg Jr.’ Any time you are creating a new distilled spirit product you must submit an application to the TTB for approval of the labeling and all this information is available for the public to look into.
Now this is potentially some big news. George T. Stagg which is part of Buffalo Trace’s ‘Antique Collection’ is a highly sought after bourbon. It’s a behemoth of whiskey, bottled at barrel proof and usually hovering over 70% ABV. Like all ‘Antique Collection’ whiskeys it is released only in the fall and in limited supply. So fans of GTS, like me, are intrigued.
In the TTB submission it says that Stagg Jr. will be bottled at 50% ABV but the label also indicates it is barrel proof. If this is barrel proof it can’t be guaranteed to 100 proof every time and this was most likely done as filler in the mean time. I seriously doubt it will be anywhere near the proof of GTS but I don’t expect anything less than 100 proof. Now just because Buffalo Trace has submitted an application for label approval doesn’t mean they will release anything so for now we have to curb our enthusiasm. Although one reason to remain optimistic is that on a recent episode of WhiskeyCast, Harlen Wheatley, the master distiller at BT, did say they were working on ‘new brands’ but couldn’t elaborate more.
If this does end up being released it is a good move on Buffalo Trace’s part. At this point I can only speculate as it’s intended competition but there is a growing field of high-proof or high aged bourbons in the $45-$55 range. Bulleit just released their Bulleit 10 year($45) and Jim Beam has Bookers ($50) which is a barrel proof bourbon part of their small batch collection and Wild Turkey is releasing Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel bottled at 110 proof and going for around $50.
Time will tell if we ever see Stagg Jr. but as a fan of George T. Stagg I will keep my fingers crossed.