This Buffalo Trace Bourbon Is About To Become More Elusive Than Ever

Fun fact: There are more barrels of bourbon in the state of Kentucky than there are people. A lot more — like, 2 million more, as the Cincinnati Enquire reports. If you want the numbers as of a few years ago, in 2016, there were 6.7 million barrels of bourbon aging in secret vaults hidden beneath the state capitol (or wherever they keep them — we just made up the part about the state capitol, though we wouldn't be surprised). Elsewhere, the 2020 Census reports that the Bluegrass State is home to some 4.5 million residents.

Still, not all bourbon is created equal. Some of those aging barrels are probably destined to be cut-rate brands sold at big-box stores. Others, however, are highly sought after (and high-priced) small-batch bourbons, such as George T. Stagg, an unfiltered bourbon made by Buffalo Trace Distillery. This bourbon comes with the steep price tag of $99, but The New York Times reports that it's in such high demand and such short supply that you may have to pay a lot more than that to get your paws on a bottle. In 2021, however, George T. Stagg will be absolutely priceless. Why? Because you can't put a price on something that doesn't exist.

Why George T. Stagg won't be released in 2021

George T. Stagg, being a premium bourbon, needs to age for a long time. The batch that was set for bottling this year has been sitting in barrels since back when Twitter was in its infancy, YouTube in diapers, and TikTok not even a gleam in its creator's eye. Sure, 2006 was a good year for bringing sexy back, but a bad one for small batch bourbon — at least at Buffalo Trace.

Buffalo Trace master blender Drew Mayville told The New York Times that bourbon batches vary from year to year but said they all need to live up to a certain standard. George T. Stagg is supposed to have a bold, hearty flavor and taste of dark cherries, chocolate, and leather (why this last one is supposed to be a good thing, we're not sure, but that's why we're not bourbon blenders). When Mayville checked the 2006 bourbon to see if it was bottle-ready, he was disappointed by what he found. "It just didn't look right," he told the Times. "It didn't match the taste profile we expect from Stagg." They won't be dumping out the bourbon, but they will be setting it aside to see if it improves with additional aging. In the meantime, for the first year in the brand's 19-year history, there will be no new George T. Stagg. As per Mayville, "It's hard to get anyway, but now you can't get any."