My first memory of the George T. Stagg dates back to a visit to our favorite whisky bar, The Last Hurrah in Boston. We had round after round of whiskies but the Stagg came at the end. It stood so very tall amid the others and sealed itself in my memory. In time I came to think that the T stands for Tiberius. As in James Tiberius Kirk. All the other bourbons were beamed down from the NCC Whiskey in red shirts, just waiting to get greased on the alien planet. But the Captain would survive to live and love again.
In the bottle, this is the color of a dusky ruby; in the glass it is darker than shoe polish. The alcohol content is almost as high as the melting point of Cesium expressed in Fahrenheit. Leaning in to nose it I have the sense that a Balrog’s whip has twisted itself into my nostrils and cauterized my sinuses. Which is to say, it is a nearly perfect nose: Funnel cake covered with powdered sugar, pomme frites dusted with potato flakes, a pair of cashmere socks warmed in the dryer, three objectively true maxims and a rakish bon mot. This whiskey is understated; suave but lethal, like a James Bond villain that refrains from oversharing in a soliloquy. On the mouth it’s indescribably rich. But we all know that my muse will rise to the challenge. Droplets of congealed dragon blood cut into tear-shaped garnets by Keebler elves. The inside of a box-end wrench into which you insert a ring finger recently made ringless. A doorbell known to be broken but pressed in the faith that someone will answer. The reassuring clicks, beeps, and whirrs of a medical tricorder. Such complexity and fullness, I flatter myself into believing that this is the whiskey of my high school dreams. Water brings lava flows of sweetness. Take maple syrup, add confectioners sugar, and then supersaturate it into a fifth state, something beyond plasma. A supercooled superelement? A superconducting superfluid? Simply super.
The George T. Stagg is T. J. Hooker–not for the bad “acting.” No, it’s the fact that his acting is actually upstaged by his toupee. We think the rug should receive credits and royalties–and a SAG card. Appropriately, it has its own blog: shatnerstoupee.blogspot.com