Larceny "Small Batch" Kentucky Straight Bourbon form Heaven Hill Distillery is that versatile bottle of whiskey that you should have on hand for every occasion in which a drink may be required. So, virtually every occasion for the foreseeable future. At a mere smidge over $20 a bottle, it’s simply a no brainer.
The name Larceny is an homage to John E. Fitzgerald, a bonded U.S. Treasury Agent who had access to the rickhouses where the Heaven Hill Distillery aged their barrels, and habitually and systematically stole their bourbon. It’s hard to imagine why Heaven Hill chose to honor someone that stole massive quantities of their spirits, but I guess they determined that he just had really good taste.
Larceny specializes in wheated bourbons, which are bourbons with the second highest proportion of grain being wheat in the mash bill. Generally, rye is the second most prominent component. This whiskey is 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley. Larceny says that this whiskey has a higher proportion of wheat than most wheated bourbons on the market, which results in a very smooth final product with a softer and fruitier flavor.
Wheated bourbons are a distinctly American product that have become absurdly popular since Pappy van Winkle exploded on the scene. Yet getting your hands on a bottle of Pappy van Winkle is quite the challenge these days due to demand and their lengthy aging process. Wheat used as a secondary grain was pioneered at the Stitzel-Weller distillery in Louisville, birthplace of Weller, Van Winkle, and Old Fitzgerald (Heaven Hill) bourbons. So Pappy and Larceny are linked by similar histories and whiskey styles. It is widely held that wheat adds a creaminess to the mouthfeel of a bourbon and creates a slightly sweet flavor that is lighter than the sweetness derived from your average majority corn recipe.
Also of note, this is a straight bourbon, which must be at least two years old and not contain any added colorings or flavorings. Straight bourbons aged two to four years must carry an age statement on the bottle, and the age of the whiskey is generally determined by the youngest whiskey used in the blend.
Color: Medium amber
Nose: Toffee, corn, butterscotch, stone fruit, spice, and oak
Palate: Buttery caramel, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and roasted corn, with great balance and a rich mouthfeel
Finish: Long, gently sweet and savory, with notes of vanilla, honey, caramel, and smoke
This six year old taste profile whiskey weighs in at 92 proof, which is slightly above the 80 proof minimum for bourbon. So, you’re really getting a very fine product at a very modest price. This is a great bourbon neat or on the rocks that will also make a great old fashioned, manhattan, or even a boulevardier, which is just a negroni made with bourbon instead of gin.
VinePair Spirits Rating: 91 Points
"Larceny's small-batch bourbon is made using a high wheat mash bill — similar to Pappy Van Winkle — and each bottling is pulled from 200 barrels or less, according to the brand. (Larceny's roots can also be traced back to Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle himself.) It's a great intro to the wheated bourbon category, with an attractive butterscotch nose, leading to a rich, honeyed palate. This whiskey tastes great neat, on the rocks, or in any classic bourbon cocktail." - Tim McKirdy (2/11/20)