Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Heaven Hill. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Larceny Barrel Proof is released three times a year, small batch, non-chill filtered, and uncut. It’s the best way to sample this wheated mashbill similar to what the master distiller experiences right from the barrel. This mashbill is also a distillate of the Old Fitzgerald brand, “which was sold to famous whiskey man Pappy Van Winkle before being produced by Heaven Hill.” For this proprietary mashbill, Heaven Hill uses twice the amount of wheat that other distillers use.
The tradition of Old Fitzgerald used wheat in place of rye for a rounder and softer palate. Using more wheat than competitors also enhances this delicate richness and softness.
For this small batch bourbon, barrels are selected in the 6-8 year age range. The distiller knows the characteristics of the barrels by where they can be found in the rickhouses. Humidity and temperature, as well as placement in the rickhouses determine how the bourbon will age. Bottling at barrel proof means just the right complements for rich complexity and smoothness need to be selected.
To pick the right barrels for Larceny Barrel Proof and other bourbon is a science in itself. For Heaven Hill, the rickhouses are not temperature controlled so location of the barrel is greatly affected by weather and seasons. Sun and location of the rickhouse also play a factor in aging and flavor. “Barrels exposed to direct sunlight will be hotter and drier than barrels stored in shade. Hillside rickhouses are drier and experience more dramatic temperature changes than rickhouses in valleys.”
Vital Stats: Batch A121. 114.8 proof (varies by batch). Made from a mingling of 6-8 year old bourbon that is bottled uncut and without chill filtration. Wheated bourbon mashbill. 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley. $50.
Appearance: Chestnut sherry in color. The bottle is a fun keyhole shape.
Nose: Touch of vanilla, brown sugar, and florals. Pleasant and sweet aromas like a typical bourbon or baked goods.
Palate: Spicy and warm. Heavy on solvent, leather, and pepper. There are undertones of hazelnut, burnt caramel and molasses with a lingering burnt orange at the back of the throat.