The nose has rich, woody bourbon goodness like only Stagg can have. The palate starts off quite tannic but then moves to candy and wood with a dash of pepper; the acid returns for late palate and the finish with a touch of mildew. A few drops of water brings out a chocolate milk like sweetness but also makes it lose a shocking amount of the woody notes which are reduced to a faint char in the late palate, making it one dimensional.
This is very good bourbon, but the last couple of Stagg releases haven't been as transcendent as the earlier ones.
N: Familiar Stagg nose - tons of caramel and a good bit of wood with a very heavy dose of cinnamon on top. Black cherries, some toffee.
P: Rich mouthfeel, fairly caramel-heavy with a touch of corn sweetness. Seasoned wood, cinnamon and chili oil. Plenty of heat!
F: Black cherries and black tea lead, wood right behind. Quite woody and a touch tannic. Caramel and corn. Lasts and lasts.
Sweeter than some previous Staggs with lots of caramel, but an unexpected tannic element this year. Good but not as gloriously complex as in the past. Water, unlike the past, does this no favors at all.
Nose is piquant and excellent. Caramel corn and toasted wood. Buttery toffee. Damn that's just awesome!
Palate is great, yet not as exciting as nose advertised. Lacking the depth and character implied. But not in a terrible way, just not in a fully-delivered way. Very caramelly. I have a bottle of 2009 Stagg open, and head-to-head, this one just lacks the instensity and sweetness of the other.
A great bourbon, but a slightly subpar Stagg. Which still means it's great. B+/A-