2014 Best Fall Bourbon Release Winner

Best Bourbon/Whiskey Released of Fall 2014

Special releases and limited editions are something we talk about a lot on Bourbonr so every fall we let you vote on which release you liked the best. It was a tough choice but a winner has been crowned! There were close to 1,900 votes cast over the 3 days of voting. If a whiskey didn’t receive more than 10 votes I didn’t include it in the chart.

Winner: George T. Stagg

I’ve always been a big fan of Stagg but when I tried this years release I knew it was something special. This years George T. Stagg was my winner in a blind tasting of 2011, 2013 and 2014.

 Barrels for this year’s George T. Stagg bottling were selected from Warehouses C, H, I, K, L, P, and Q.  This uncut and unfiltered bourbon was distilled back in the spring of 1998 and weighs in at 138.1 proof.

Full voting results:


There were some other interesting items in the voting. First, the real winner is Buffalo Trace Distillery with 5 out of the top 10. However, Van Winkle Rye scored very few votes even though I consider it to be one of the best ryes out there. I chalk this up to such a limited amount of bottles very few people have been able to try it. Second, Angel’s Envy continues to find success with their Cask Strength release even with such a large price tag. Third, Wheat Whiskey is really good! I’ve tried a couple of wheat whiskies over the years but this years Parker’s Heritage Collection really amazed me with how good it was.

Bourbonr Fall Top 10:

fall top 10

What do you think about this years winners? Agree or disagree?



    The Four Roses Small Batch of this Fall is not worthy of being in the top ten. I have two bottles of Four Roses single barrel select releases from Spec’s (Texas) that I think are far better and are at less than half the price. Also, Willet Exploratory Cask is something special and worthy of placement in the top ten. It may be that its just really difficult to find and not too many folks have been able to try it. (It’s that or my tastes are different from many of the other voters).

    Like your blog. But, how can I get rid of the facebook/twitter/etc detritus that obscures your words on the left side of the page.

    Keep up the great work.

    Nice list, except for 3 problems

    1. I do not like any version of Craig
    2. Makers Mark is OK, but too many others that are better
    3. The remaining 8 are either unobtainable or price most people out.

    I like Stagg, have a few bottles bunkered, but could not find 2014 for under $250-$300
    ER17 is good but like Stagg, can not find at any where close to MSRP. Pappy any version is even worse.
    Most of the problem is from profiteers that just flip it. Very limited supply in Ca. SF area. NO one takes names and the lottery thru bevmo I did not win.

    You have to extend the search to the small supermarket chains in Sac. Picked up a bottle of Stagg just waiting for someone to have. I heard about them too late. Other people picked up Stagg and Handy.

    Which small markets in Sac??? I am first call for a few but still did not even get a whiff of Stagg this year after getting three bottles last year (I still have one to trade if anyone is interested?) Love to get to know more folks carrying good stuff as I thought most were pressured out. I did get quite a few special bottles of the lesser flipped like Birthday Bourbon and such. I also see from this survey how many liked the Angel’s Envy Cask Strength. Although not cask strength the Corti Exquisite Whiskey was hard to beat. I grabbed two cases before it was gone….

    I have a bottle of the Parker Heritage Wheat I would definitely trade for a bottle of Stagg. I don’t know if you would be interested in them but I also have Firestone Walker Anniversary Ales 14-17 for trade as well. (I live on the Central Coast so a trade shouldn’t be difficult.)

    That’s a heck of a top 10. I’ve been lucky enough to have obtained half of them, and am determined to get at least one more (WLW). I voted for OFBB, because I thought it was both delicious and a terrific value, but this year’s Stagg is definitely a thing of beauty. Cheers!

    I’m in the Dayton area and was fortunate enough to obtain this year’s releases of Stagg & PVW15, but only through trade bc I was also fortunate enough to first obtain a bottle of PVW20. Had to actually trade with a guy from MI for that, but KY & IN are better for finding in store. Ohio really is tough due to the state control. It sucks.

    This is all about availability. But still a fun poll. I had some Stagg tonight, and it was great, but this year’s WLW is something special. Too bad not all of this stuff is widely available.

    Thanks for doing this! It’s always fun to see how your opinions size up to others. No major objections on my end, except to say I wish I was able to try Stagg and WLW. No BTAC in Arkansas (sad face).

    Hell, how about NONE of this stuff is widely available.

    Based on my conversations with retailers and networking research, I don’t believe a single bottle of GT Stagg made it to a retail shelf in my state of Michigan.

    Yeah, the list is about limited releases so they’re all pretty hard to find. But, Michigan did get a decent allocation of BTAC (Stagg) you may just want to broaden your search for next year

    I know Annie’s Party shop in Michigan got several Stagg think they wanted $200 each. Think Liquor Town in NY still has some Thomas Handy and Parker’s 13 yr Wheat.

    I have not tried them all, but the list is somewhat disappointing. How Angels Envy and Makers Cask strength made it are beyond me. Sure the Pappy 15 and 20 are good, they usually are. But the 10 yr Old Rip Van Winkle is pleasantly surprising. Definitely way better than usual. For the price I think its one of the best value antiques to come around in some time. Also, Woodfords Masters Collection is so unique and original I can’t understand how it didn’t make the cut. You may never taste anything like it again, and I expect the bottle values to soar in the years to come. Finally, I love Stagg but in my opinion the 13 is better than the 14. The higher proof in the 14 makes the bourbon burn baby burn. It is not a smooth pour like the 13. Reminds me a lot of the first offering of Stagg Jr. Don’t get me wrong, its still great whiskey.

    The Pappy prices on the secondary market have gone up this year…or should I say the ASKING PRICES. I am not sure if they really are going for that much. The bubble is about to burst, especially with fake/counterfeit Pappy Van Winkle showing up much much more. I would never buy from someone I didn’t personally know.

    I’m suprised that highwest A midwinter nights dram isn’t on this list! I found this to be an exceptional whiskey this year!

    I’m with you, Jake! The MWND is such a unique and delicious rye and deserves to be among this elite crowd. Best value cask finished whiskey this year.

    Overall, I think it is a good list. Bourbon is like wine in that not everyone likes the same thing. Personally, I drink barrel proof whiskey. My favorites are from BT; GTS, WLW, TH, Col EHT Jr and Blanton SFTB (this year at a pleasant 129.2). I have also enjoyed this year’s PH Wheat, ECBP and WP BHSOM. And, though not a big fan of FR, I like this year’s FRLESB because of its higher that usual rye content. Drink up!

    For any of these bottles at my liquor store you have to wait in line for 12 hours. Around 6AM an employee comes out and takes the order of the first 20 people (only one bottle per person). You either wait another 3 and a half hours for the store to open to pick it up or you come back later that day. If you don’t come back later that day you lose your order to one of the other people in line who wanted it. All Pappy, Antique Collection and Four Roses were gone in less than 5 minutes. I didn’t manage to snag anything super rare because I was late to the party but even my bottle of Stagg Jr. that I called in to have put on hold had 3 names in line after me if I didn’t come and pick it up.

    Great Job Mr. Bourbonr! It’s important to keep in mind while viewing these results that it’s extremely difficult to put a whole season worth of fine bourbon up against each other. The availability factor is a major player in how much weight the results can hold. However, I do like the effort to rate them all against each other as opposed to picking a winner out of different categories; enough people do the categories as it is.

    As always great piece and here’s to you winning a Pulitzer for fine journalism one day.

    As lucky as I have been to get some of these, unfortunately I have not been able to try most. Hard to say, but being a Stagg owner, feel good that I landed that one. I am big fan of Handy and think its way under rated. That’s fine by me, makes it still somewhat accessible.

    I have this year’s George T Stagg, two bottles actually, and I opened one with family on Christmas eve. Can someone please help me enjoy it! I tried adding a little water, probably not enough because i’m afraid to dilute it. Is there a proper ratio of water to bourbon I should follow? Would an ice cube be wrong? Drinking it straight is difficult, it makes your eye’s water when you bring the glass up to your face! I really want to enjoy this the proper way. I was going to sell the unopened bottle for $400 or use it in a trade for another bottle of Pappy 23 yr. Now that I see it is so widely beloved, I’ll send it to my bunker with the other Kentucky cousins.

    For me, the best bourbon I had was this year’s Elmer T Lee, so smooth and rounded. Not the commemorative, those bottles are in the bunker, just the standard issue.

    There is a product called Whisky Stones, small square stones like ice cubes. freeze and use and reuse. Chills without diluting

    How hard was it to find the Parker Heritage Wheat? I was able to get two bottles and was thinking about trading one. Super bummed that I was unable to get a bottle of Stagg this year. First time in many years I didn’t have ol George T on Christmas.

    Last Saturday, I had the extreme good fortune to find myself in a bar (Front Street Brewery in Wilmington NC) that offered an exemplary bourbon selection and the chance to put together tasting flights of some top notch brands that had eluded me. I got to taste Stagg, William L Weller and Blanton’s. I would rank them in exactly that order as to taste and smoothness, and I agree that the Stagg was way out front. Then, wonder of wonders, I happened to spy our bartender pouring a

    …from a familiar-looking bottle. Pappy Vsn Winkle 23! Of course, I had to throw down the plastic for the $75 pour. Sublime! It lived up to the hype. If Stagg was more available, though, it would definitely be my go-to sip.

    Here in New York can’t seem to get to many on the list. Would love to get my hands on PVW anything. As a buddy of mine with great connections got a bottle of PVW23 . Awesome. I wasn’t a bourbon drinker before but now I am. Why no mention of Knob Creek? Small batch 9 year old 100 proof is terrific. Had Angels Envy and Woodford Reserve , Michter;s and Makers Mark. I think Knob Creek small batch is better. Maybe my taste buds are screwed up. I did have Four Roses not the one mentioned here, liked that a lot also. I’ll keep trying to PVW and George Stagg.

    Kevin – I’m in NY as well. I’ve got some extra rare bottles that I’m looking to trade for others that I haven’t been able to get my hands on. Feel free to shoot me an email at ashaut@skpny.com for trades.

    Stagg Jr is hard to come by? Here in SC my local larger sized liquor and wine warehouse has it on the shelf. They are doing the whole “only 1 or 2 bottles out a day” thing but the kid at the register said they have a large stock in the back. Already picked up three at $50 each thinking they will hold value. Same with the Weller 12yr but I only got two before they ran out. More people know that name perhaps….

    Blake and others – any thoughts on the Orphan Barrel Lost Prophet? I’m usually not a fan of the older bourbons, and this is 22 years, but tasting notes from several sources agree that the big oakiness normally associated with the older bourbons is a bit tempered here

    I had the opportunity to taste Lost Prophet and IMO, the oak flavor is not what you would expect for a 22 year bourbon, but I do not think it is worth 120 dollars. I think they, being Diageo is trying to cash in on the older is better belief.

    Thanks TJ – kind of read similar reviews about the toned down oakiness on the older bourbon, which I liked. I’d actually be a buyer at 120 if I could find it at the price just to check it out.

    The hype surrounding this year’s Stagg and the effect it’s had on prices for it has honestly shocked me. I felt that it was a significant improvement over the totally disappointing 2013 but a far cry from any of the older ones. I actually just parted with my backup 2014 to pay for something else.

    The Weller I felt was the biggest disappointment of the entire BTAC. Just way too hot. I had to add a ton of water to it to make it at all palatable. Completely lost what made all the previous years so good.

    I have a 750 ml Makers mark Cask Strength. That’s all I will probably get. And I don’t care. I have some things I enjoy packed away. Too much bull and scam surrounding the “good stuff”.

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