Buffalo Trace Distillery’s George T. Stagg Faces Shortage

Among bourbon enthusiasts, the annual release of George T. Stagg, a barrel-proof, unfiltered bourbon produced by Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, is a big event. Fans typically pay many times the suggested retail price of $99 — if they can find a bottle.

This year, they won’t find any, no matter how hard they look. The distillery announced Wednesday that, for the first time, it would not release any George T. Stagg bourbon this year because the barrels of the 14-year-old whiskey that had been prepared in 2006 and earmarked for the annual bottling were not up to Stagg standards.

“It just didn’t look right,” Drew Mayville, the master blender at Buffalo Trace, said of the uncooperative bourbon. “It didn’t match the taste profile we expect from Stagg.”

Mr. Mayville described that distinct flavor as having notes of dark chocolate, leather and dark cherries, though he added that releases vary slightly from year to year. The 2006 whiskey, he said, was too light and undeveloped in character to represent the Stagg brand, which the two-century-old distillery describes as “extremely hearty.” The company has yet to identify a root cause of the problem.

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