The nose dances with candy corn, caramel and woody notes. The first small sip explodes with the flavors the name is known for: leather, wood, the old wood paneled study in the back of the house that you imagine your father would have worked at while he smoked his pipe if you had been a child of that era when fathers smoked pipes while they worked in wood paneled studies. Strangely, this version is quite sippable neat, even at its full strength, and while adding water is the sane thing to do, it really shouldn't be done as it brings out a mildew and chewiness which interrupts the essential, if simplistic perfection of this year's Stagg.
N: Powerful out of the gate (not surprising at 71.5%!) with wood immediately present and toffee right beside it. There is a kind of fall spice elemtn to the nose, with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and anise. There's also a butterscotch undertone to it. Big and bold but not closed off.
P: Warming immediately with more caramel sweetnes than the nose would indicate, with wood predominant. Continues to warm, has a molasses hint and a slight amount of saltiness to balance the caramel sweetness. Some dark fruits creep in - plums, black cherries. A little cold water and ice cuts the heat and woodiness and brings the fruitier notes to the front quite predominantly. It also pops out a little vanilla creaminess.
F: Cools from the palate; hints of apple pie, wood, mulling spices. Toffee is present as well. Plums and black cherries are also evident.
As far as 2010 goes I prefer William Larue Weller. It's great but a little short of being an A.