Legend has it, John E. Fitzgerald was a bonded treasury agent who, in the 1870’s, possessed the keys to the bourbon barrel storage warehouses. His desire for fine bourbon drove him to sneak into the warehouses and help himself to the best barrels. These barrels soon became known as “Fitzgerald Barrels”, the top of the line. Pappy Van Winkle (who also knew a bit about fine bourbon) eventually bought the brand, naming it “Old Fitzgerald” and the rest is bourbon history. Well I’m going to suggest you do the same – sneak out and get some now while it’s a “steal” (around $25).
Larceny, from Heaven Hill Distilleries, is a small batch wheated bourbon, using wheat as the secondary grain in place of rye, making it a bit smoother. It is “drawn from 100 or less barrels aged 6 to 12 years”, although no age is given on the bottle. The color is that of a copper or bronze, glistening in the noonday sun. On the nose, Larceny delivers caramel with some cinnamon apple spice and maybe a bit of wood. There may even be a sweet, sun tea in there somewhere. It’s a very inviting aroma that bids you to taste.
Passing over the tongue, Larceny leaves a lovely caramel oak that coats the mouth and hangs on forever. Sweet, carnival toffee builds and I may have tasted licorice or vanilla but couldn’t quite decide which or both. The finish is fairly short and balanced with a very soft sweetness to it.
One thing I will say, I think leaving the bottle open for a day or so opens up the bourbon and provides a much more satisfying taste. If, like me, you’re a Pappy’s fan, you’d do well to try a bottle of Larceny in between your searches for the holy grail. You won’t be disappointed.
Guest reviewed by David Ford (aka Deford)
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