Stagg Jr. 22A, 132.2 Proof with complete review

Stagg Jr. 22A, 132.2 Proof with complete review
Stagg Jr. 22A, 132.2 Proof with complete review

Stagg Jr., a robust and unfiltered bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery, consistently garners attention and accolades from bourbon aficionados. Each release, or batch, is unique, with varying proofs that showcase the raw and unadulterated essence of the spirit. The 22A batch, bottled at a potent 132.2 proof, is no exception. This review delves into the intricacies of this formidable bourbon, offering insights into its appearance, nose, palate, and finish.


Stagg Jr. 22A, 132.2 Proof, presents itself with a deep, rich amber color, a testament to its time aging in charred oak barrels. The bourbon’s viscosity is immediately apparent when swirled in the glass, producing slow, thick legs that promise a full-bodied tasting experience. The packaging is straightforward yet bold, with the high proof prominently displayed, indicating the strength and character of the spirit within.


On the nose, Stagg Jr. 22A is intensely aromatic, offering a robust bouquet that is both complex and inviting. Initial scents of dark caramel and vanilla dominate, quickly followed by a rich blend of dark fruit—think black cherries and ripe plums. There’s a pronounced presence of oak, accompanied by hints of leather, tobacco, and toasted almonds. As the bourbon breathes, subtler notes of dark chocolate, cinnamon, and a touch of molasses emerge, adding layers to its olfactory profile. The high proof is unmistakable, delivering a powerful yet harmonious scent that entices rather than overwhelms.


The first sip of Stagg Jr. 22A is a bold statement, delivering an intense burst of flavor that envelops the palate. It starts with a robust sweetness, with notes of brown sugar, toffee, and maple syrup. This sweetness is swiftly balanced by a surge of spice—black pepper, cloves, and a hint of chili—providing a fiery kick that is both invigorating and satisfying. The mid-palate reveals a complex mix of dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and a smoky oakiness, underpinned by a subtle earthiness.

Despite its high proof, the bourbon maintains a surprisingly smooth and velvety mouthfeel, demonstrating the quality of its distillation and aging process. A few drops of water or some time in the glass can help temper the heat, allowing the deeper flavors to come forward and offering a slightly different but equally rewarding tasting experience.


The finish of Stagg Jr. 22A is long, warm, and enduring, leaving a lasting impression that lingers on the palate. It concludes with a harmonious blend of oak, spice, and a lingering sweetness that gradually fades into a pleasant dryness. The warmth from the alcohol is persistent but not harsh, creating a comforting and satisfying end to each sip. Hints of dark fruit, cocoa, and a whisper of leather make a final appearance, rounding out a complex and well-balanced finish.

Stagg Jr. 22A, 132.2 Proof with complete review

Stagg Jr. 22A, 132.2 Proof, is a stellar example of what high-proof bourbon can offer. It combines intensity with complexity, delivering a rich and multi-layered experience that will delight seasoned bourbon drinkers. While its high proof might be daunting for the uninitiated, those who appreciate the depth and nuance of a well-crafted bourbon will find much to admire in this release.

Pairing Suggestions

Given its bold and intense flavor profile, Stagg Jr. 22A pairs exceptionally well with hearty foods. Consider enjoying it with a char-grilled steak, barbecued ribs, or rich, creamy cheeses. For dessert, dark chocolate truffles or a pecan pie can complement its sweetness and spice. Additionally, its complexity makes it an excellent companion to a fine cigar, enhancing both the drinking and smoking experience.

Overall Rating

Stagg Jr. 22A, 132.2 Proof, deserves high praise for its robust and intricate flavor profile, smooth mouthfeel, and long, satisfying finish. It stands as a testament to the craftsmanship of Buffalo Trace Distillery and is highly recommended for bourbon enthusiasts seeking an intense and rewarding experience. This batch is a true gem in the world of high-proof bourbons and is a worthy addition to any collection.