With George T. Stagg bourbon canceled for 2021, many collectors and shoppers are scrambling to seek out older releases to carry themselves over till 2022. However in the event you’re contemplating doing the identical, be warned: the mad sprint to get a bottle in hand is already underway. When the a lot sought-after Buffalo Hint Vintage Assortment was confirmed to be down a bottle for 2021, the secondary market hunt jumped into gear for any and all earlier releases of George T. Stagg bourbon.
Buffalo Hint introduced final week that George T. Stagg wouldn’t be launched for the 2021 batch, citing high quality issues—that the whiskey put aside for this bottle was merely not prepared for bottling.
The whiskey has a cult following, however that following is born largely out of Buffalo Hint’s determination to call nice whiskey after an iconic steward of the distillery’s lengthy historical past.
George T. Stagg was born in 1835 in Kentucky. He served within the Union Military throughout the Civil Warfare, and later moved to St. Louis, Missouri, the place he started a gross sales relationship with E.H. Taylor, Jr. that ended with Stagg buying Taylor’s O.F.C. Distillery from him when Taylor’s funds tanked. O.F.C. later took Stagg’s identify, earlier than it will definitely grew to become Buffalo Hint Distillery.
His namesake whiskey has been launched 20 instances, together with a second “Spring” launch in 2005. It has received numerous awards and accolades through the years.
The 2020 launch consisted of barrels crammed in spring 2005 from warehouses L, Ok, and Q. We managed to trace down final 12 months’s pattern, which was bottled at an immense 130.4 proof.
The standard cinnamon and caramel notes and a touch of cherry had been obvious on the nostril; however on the palate, crisp intonations of candy cherry syrup, hints of smoke, black espresso, and vanilla had been softened by a giant, natural notice and distinguished hints of uncooked sugar and polish. It’s really scrumptious—however at what value?
There’s all the time the query of cash. In case you have lots of it, you’ll be able to most likely skip this half, however for these of us with a hard and fast bourbon funds, earlier Stagg releases is likely to be out of your attain—and getting worse.
Right here’s one thing for consideration: Initially of this 12 months, a current classic of George T. Stagg would have run you roughly $700, plus or minus $50. Costs all the time go up—even a month in the past, George T. Stagg 2020 and 2019 had been hovering round $800—however something above that may’ve arguably been freeway theft.
Within the final week, nevertheless, the worth has snowballed. On the time of this writing, bottles had been being marketed for $1,100, with consumers in consideration. A 50 p.c in a single day enhance in value is astounding, even amid this 12 months’s ongoing, economy-wide inflation points.
It will get worse in the event you’ve been seeking older vintages. A bottle of the unique launch from 2002 was marketed by one vendor over the weekend at a good $5,000—nicely above present costs for current Pappy Van Winkle bottles.
Keep in mind once more: It is a $99 MSRP bottle and, whereas secondary market costs are usually excessive for Buffalo Hint whiskeys, these 10x will increase are frankly ridiculous for the typical drinker, until they’re a really intense fan of the Stagg Model.
The underside line: this isn’t a time the place your cash might be nicely spent. Even when whiskey costs by no means “pop” in a bubble, it’s arduous to consider this isn’t artificially excessive. As an alternative, it is a good time to look exterior the Stagg household, since $1,100 can get you a case of incredible bourbons from throughout the trade, and distilleries like Frey Ranch, New Riff, Wild Turkey and loads of others are producing nice liquids (at way more affordable costs).
At our final look, $1,100 will get you a bottle of the Booker’s thirtieth launch from a number of years in the past.
We’re not directing you away from Buffalo Hint both. This 12 months’s BTAC did have some gems, together with the 101 proof Eagle Uncommon 17 12 months, which was created from whiskey distilled in 2002, and has an analogous profile of cherries, espresso, an natural spike of spearmint, and layer after layer of candy oak.
We’ve compiled lists of different distilleries value trying out, together with this 12 months’s 10 to observe, and there are lots extra the place that got here from.
Crucial concern, although, is counterfeits. Even in the event you do really feel comfy paying a thousand bucks for a bottle proper now, each counterfeiter available on the market is presently centered on assembly the Stagg demand that Buffalo Hint couldn’t. They’re good at it, and fakes will be arduous to identify, even with experience.
So whereas we usually settle for that purchasing on the secondary market is a obligatory evil, take our recommendation: Sit this one out, develop your world as a substitute, and we’ll all do this once more in 2022.
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