Today, I am reviewing John E. Fitzgerald Larceny bourbon. This is a relatively new product from Heaven Hill Distillery, makers of Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, and Rittenhouse Rye, all fine whiskeys at good prices. As it is, Larceny has high standards set for it. It has to live up to Heaven Hill’s tradition of great value, but it also has to live up to its namesake, John E. Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was a bourbon maker in the late 19th century, who eventually sold his distillery to Julian Van Winkle to become a treasury agent. After the sale, Fitzgerald became famous/infamous for sneaking into the Van Winkle distillery to obtain whiskey from his favorite barrels. Over time, these became known as the “Old Fitzgerald” barrels. In honor of Fitzgerald’s discerning tastes, Heaven Hill created the Old Fitzgerald line of wheated bourbons. Larceny is the newest addition to this line, a six-year old bourbon bottled at 92 proof.
Before giving my review, I will openly admit that I am not a huge fan of wheated bourbons. Maker’s Mark, Weller, and the Old Fitzgerald line tend not to suit my palate as nicely as other bourbons. That is not to say that I hate all wheated bourbons. William Larue Weller and W.L. Weller 12 yr. are both very enjoyable (especially the former). I just want to acknowledge my bias coming into the review.
On the nose, Larceny is dense and rich. There are notes of caramel, butterscotch, corn, vanilla, and brown sugar. I think the palate brings the whiskey down, though. There is a dense caramel sweetness, balanced by hearty cereal grain flavors. The back of the palate picks up cinnamon and drying oak spices. The finish is medium to short, with the oak remaining along with some dense caramel.
Overall, this is a solid wheated bourbon. It is not especially expensive (usually around $25/750 ml), which makes it a very good value if you enjoy wheated bourbon. In most stores, this is cheaper than Maker’s Mark, which makes Larceny the better buy. However, I don’t see too much between them in flavor profiles. Larceny is not the bourbon for me, but that does not mean it isn’t the bourbon for you. My Grade: C-. Price: $25-30/750ml. For me, I leave this one on the shelf. There are better whiskeys at the price point, and I don’t think this would make a great mixer.