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This is a widely anticipated annual release from Buffalo Trace. It is one of five bottles in their Antique Collection, and represents their take on a straight bourbon at cask strength. This was distilled in the spring of 2003 and bottled in 2018. There were still many, many bottles of this produced, clocking in around 37,000 - although that number is down compared to last year. Lets dive in and see how it is.
Powerful. Toffee, caramel, rich cherry syrup. Vanilla icing, musty pipe tobacco. Rich and imposing, with the absence of punishing ethanol, which is welcome.
Thick mouth feel. Heat is subdued. The palate kicks off with really rich caramel, toffee and nougat. Theres cherry syrupy, thick and savory like Luxardo cherries. The pipe tobacco and oak are evident, and blend gracefully with the sweetness and the fruity notes. Not bitter. Theres some faint pepper.
Long, rich and satisfying. The heat is still very much in check despite the elevated proof. The oak is present but tame, and the baking spices and sweet dessert notes are prominent and very evident. More fruitiness here with rich cherry and some blackberry and currant. More pipe tobacco, light pepper, and a satisfying, slow, departure.
I enjoyed last years bottle, but this easily tops it for me. This is one of the most mellow Staggs that I have had in recent years and the complexity is shows up with despite that mellow ethanol presence is just phenomenal. This is a winner.
Our in house critic rates spirits on a scale of 0-10 (10 best) and is aggregated the same as external sources