George T Stagg 2023 Review

The Antique Collection by Buffalo Trace

The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection bottles began hitting my area (Washington State) in early January, and suddenly, everybody is hunting hardcore to try to score at least one of these revered bottles. I was very pleasantly surprised when one of the owners of a store I regularly visit called me and said he had one bottle of GTS and asked if I wanted it…hell yes I want it! So, let’s crack this bad boy open and start “working” on a George T Stagg 2023 review.

Series: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: 15 years, 3 months
Proof: 135.0
Proof Designation: Barrel Proof
Filtered Status: Non-Chill Filtered
Mash bill: Undisclosed: Mash #1, speculated to be 82% corn, 8% rye, 10% barley
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
Company: Sazerac Company
Bottled By: Buffalo Trace Distillery
Distilled/Aging Location: Frankfort, Kentucky
Release Date: October 2023
MSRP: $125 (2023)
Secondary Market: $500 – $1,400
Availability: Low/Rare

George T Stagg 2023 Review
George T Stagg 2023 Review

My tasting reviews are unique in that I include the notes of several well-known whiskey critics. The hope is that this format will help me and others to explore and expand their tasting experience. After you have taken your own tasting notes, read the reviews and see if there is a flavor note that others discerned that now you can detect as well.

For this tasting: Opened Bottle (about 1 week), Glencairn Glass, Neat, Room Temp, Breathe: 5 minutes


The legs take about 30 seconds to begin to form droplets on the crown, and about 60 seconds to stream all the way down to the pour.


Caramel, grape cola, vanilla, anise, cinnamon, leather, luxardo cherry, toasted oak, a Granny Smith apple note, maybe a chocolate-orange candy.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Bourbon Real Talk: It has a dusty characteristic on the nose.

Whiskey Raiders: Heavy char and brown butter, maple sugar and a drizzle of luxardo cherry. There’s pepper, plenty of oak, big caramel character and a wallop of baking spice.

ADHD Whiskey: Sweet, oaky, ethanol forward, a very unique sweetness like a berry or cherry, that I really enjoy.


Toffee, vanilla, honey, spicy oak, molasses, cinnamon, cocoa, dark fruits, luxardo cherry, leather, maybe a hint of candied ginger, a hint of graham cracker, a note of those chocolate orange candy wedges you might get for Christmas.

There is also a funky note that I can’t identify that goes across the tongue from left to right across the center line of the tongue. It is savory-sweet-dry-dusty, not astringent, but mildly biting and very interesting.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Bourbon Real Talk: A little funk (that I like), a little dusty note, a rich oak campfire smoke, sweet oak, well integrated with the fruit, the caramel, brown sugar, and barrel char. It is quite different from the normal George T Stagg. That dusty note is unusual but I don’t mind it. This is world-class. I would rate 2023 as a 95. 2017 is a 99, 2020 is a 98.

Whiskey Raiders: Rich on the palate. The proof is deceptive — you’d never know this was over 130 proof if it weren’t written in front of you. Packed with cherry, cola, brown sugar, char, heavy oak and caramel candies.

ADHD Whiskey: Wow. Wow. That’s phenomenal. That’s an experience. It is definitely a takeover bourbon. It enters your mouth, sets its flag directly on your tongue and says, “I belong here, this is mine now until I decide to leave.” A unique red berry sweetness like a sharp, sweet oak with a tangy cherry or tangy raspberry, and it’s right down the middle of the tongue. The oak is definitely there, but it is playing second fiddle to the high proof cherry bomb. Is it amazing…yes. Is it incredibly complex and changing…no. I gave it an 8.9


Extremely long finish with caramel, baking spices, and mocha. Lingers forever!

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Bourbon Real Talk: na

Whiskey Raiders: Long finish, super rich. The finish holds for a good, long, while and carries tons of baking spice, brown sugar, vanilla bean and a final dash of Luxardo cherry syrup with it.

ADHD Whiskey: The finish lasts a very long time.


The 2023 George T Stagg coats the entire palate: all of the tongue, roof of the mouth, and back of the throat…so pleasantly unctuous and nice! Fantastic mouthfeel.

The Burn

5 out of 5. This means that the burn from the alcohol is quite a bit lower (10% to 20%) than what I would expect it to be. I would guess this to be around 120 proof, not 135 proof.

Tasting Summary

The 2023 George T Stagg meets the standard that its name has earned a reputation for: a stellar high-proof, long-aged, full-flavored bourbon. It is a joy to sip and my favorite whiskey of 2023 (even though I didn’t get to taste it until 2024).

My Tasting Notes

A blank version of this tasting notes wheel is available in both a color and a black & white version in the member’s area.

George T Stagg 2023 Tasting Notes
Notes and History

If you are unfamiliar with the BTAC ( Buffalo Trace Antique Collection) bottles, they include George T Stagg bourbon, Thomas H Handy rye, Eagle Rare 17 year bourbon, Sazerac 18 year Rye, and William Laurue Weller bourbon.

Different people prefer different bottles from this collection, but it seems that although all of these pours are top-notch, many people tend to prefer the George T Stagg by just a smidge (if not more).

If you found this George T Stagg 2023 review helpful, forward it to a friend!

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