angelshare wrote: It's hard to imagine a Stagg 80 proof, you know?...I consider Jim Beam Black a GOOD pour under 90 proof.
Dave, you gave me an idea -- a bad one, perhaps, but an idea. I happen to like JB Black very much (though I prefer the older 7yo, 90-proof version, which is almost impossible to find now). So, I have favorable, first-hand experience with an 86-proof bourbon. And, as it happened, I was set to open my first bottle of the four Stagg '04s I bagged this week with its appearance in Tennessee.
So -- with the remainder of the bottle as margin for error -- I decided to try the Stagg at 86 proof (even I couldn't tolerate the heresy of taking it all the way to 80). From 129 proof, this was a cinch -- a 2:1 (bourbon:water) ratio is exactly 86 proof.
The result: it's still Stagg. Somewhat diluted Stagg, yes -- but, just as at full strength, there was still a more prominent nose, more layered flavors, a more lingering finish than anyone has a right to expect at 86 proof.
The cotton candy and caramel aromas still leap from the glass -- in fact, they may be more prominent at this lower proof. The entry perhaps suffers most from the dilution -- but, that could be a positive for someone new to bourbon and unprepared for a high-proof taste. It takes some rolling around the tongue to begin to sense the power of this pour. But it's there -- dried apples and raisins come to mind forcefully. And the finish -- well, there's just nothing longer in the sport. Even the 'legs' on the glass -- at 86 proof! -- keep holding on for dear life.
So, in short, Dave, you're right -- Stagg is Stagg! Things work according to their nature. Stagg, even at 86 proof, has more depth than just about anything on the market I've experienced.
Will I do this again? Well, maybe, if I'm drinking with a newbie. But, next time, I'm upping it to 3:1, which will put it at 96-97-proof range. I expect THAT to be serious Stagg.
I'll fiddle from there.