2013 was the first year I was able to find one of each of the BTAC (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection) – a very limited yearly release consisting of five expressions (William Larue Weller, Sazerac 18 Rye, Thomas H. Handy Rye, Eagle Rare 17, and George T. Stagg). I enjoyed opening each one up and fully exploring them. George T. Stagg is typically a bruiser of a barrel-strength bourbon.
Nose: Immediate blend of rich vanilla with heavy barrel char. Old leather with caramel and black cherries emerging after awhile.
Palate: Very grain heavy up front. Slight burnt toast with caramel and vanilla notes. The proof isn’t as overwhelming as you’d expect for being 64.1% ABV, but it still masks a bit of the depth in this expression in my opinion. Rather thin mouthfeel with a bit of grain to it.
Finish: Old oak dominates here – rather dry overall with a bit of caramel that lingers. Perhaps a bit overoaked here for my taste.
Rating: 86/100 – Solid bourbon which was a bit of a letdown for this particular year compared to other releases e.g. 2012, 2010, 2014, etc.
Value for the money: At retail ($89-$99), any of the BTAC bottles are a no-brainer for an excellent pour; however, most people are unable to procure these at retail due to their high demand and limited supply. On the secondary, these will fetch close to $400, and as with most bourbon, it is not worth that premium in my opinion.