Food & Drink

Bourbon of the week: George T Stagg

Journey through the American Deep South, one bottle at a time, with the GQ guide to the best of bourbon whiskey

Time was, popular opinion posited Scotch as the whisky of refined palates and epicurean evenings, while bourbon was the empty-bottle preserve of hotel-trashing, spandex-flashing hair-metal rockers and gravel-voiced blues artists. No longer. What truth there ever was in that is certainly behind us now, with hundreds of outstanding bourbons offering an opportunity to explore the American South one syrupy sip at a time.

Here, each week, GQ will share the flavour profile of a new bottle of the brown stuff and introduce you to the very best that Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana and beyond has to offer. Of course, if you want to backcomb your hair, dig out your old patched denim jacket and free pour till you hit the floor, well, that’s entirely up to you...

16

George T Stagg

Age: 15 years

ABV: 64.6%

Region: Frankfort, Kentucky

Appearance: Deep amber.

Tasting notes: Lush toffee sweetness and dark chocolate combine with hints of vanilla, fudge, nougat and molasses. Underlying notes of dates, tobacco, dark berries, spearmint and a hint of coffee round out the palate.

£110.

26

Booker's 7yo

Age: Six years, three months and one day

ABV: 63.7%

Region: Clermont, Kentucky

Appearance: Auburn.

Tasting notes: The nose is sweet with hints of brown sugar, light oak and the vanilla that is characteristic of Booker’s bourbon. The taste has a pleasant and warm finish that's both sweet and spicy.

£50. At amazon.com

36

Woodford Reserve Malt

ABV: 45.2%

Region: Kentucky

Appearance: Warm umber.

Tasting notes: Dark chocolate and caramel-coated nuts are dried out with a dusting of cocoa powder and brown spice. A fruit medley brightens a trace of toasted coconut and a rich, bright oak character.

£35. At Asda. asda.com

46

Buffalo Trace

Age: Eight years

ABV: 40%

Region: Frankfort, Kentucky

Appearance: Deep amber.

Tasting notes: A complex aroma of vanilla, mint and molasses that’s pleasantly sweet with notes of brown sugar and space. Giving way to oak, toffee, dark fruit and anise, the finish is long and smooth with serious depth.

£24.50. At thewhiskyexchange.com

56

Bulleit 10yo

Age: Ten years

ABV: 45.6%

Region: Kentucky

Appearance: Dark with a warm, orange hue.

Tasting notes: Rich and spicy with notes of vanilla, cinnamon and dried fruit.

£41.25. At masterofmalt.com

66

Elijah Craig Small Batch

ABV: 47%

Region: Bardstown, Kentucky

Appearance: A burnished copper.

Tasting notes: Complex on the nose, with notes of vanilla bean, sweet fruit and fresh mint, the taste is smooth, warm and pleasantly woody with accents of spice, smoke and nutmeg, leading to a long, sweet, slightly toasty finish.

£44.45. At thewhiskyexchange.com

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