Larceny sits in a strange place for me. I want to like it, it's solidly differentiated, but at the end of the day I think it's a decent bourbon for somebody else.

First, a bit of history. Larceny comes from the Heaven Hill distillery, which makes a lot of other things I quite enjoy, including Rittenhouse Rye, Bernheim, and Mellow Corn. They also produce a bewildering range of other brands, including Old Fitzgerald, Elijah Craig, and Evan Williams. Larceny is Heaven Hill's attempt at a “wheater” bourbon. While most bourbons use rye as a secondary grain for spice and complexity, wheat produces a softer style. Theoretically, anyway.

Larceny is a sweet whiskey for sure. In the glass, it smells strongly of honey and maple syrup, bringing to mind hearty plates of hot buttered pancakes. I'm pretty confident you'll pick this up when you taste the bourbon. It's big with those sugary, fatty breakfast flavors, and it heaps in a handful of butterscotch candies for good measure. It's a little peppery on the tongue, but overall it's a maple and butterscotch-dominated affair. Not at all a bad handful of flavors!

Water, interestingly enough, does change the profile substantially. It mellows out a little bit and allows a bit of orange rind and clove to come forward. It's still sweet, but you can transmute it into a slightly different and more nuanced kind of sweet.

Now, all of this probably sounds fairly good, but to me the Larceny has a very middling finish that's basically as prototypically bourbony as it gets. Specifically, there's a big, charred candy corn flavor that coats my throat and refuses to go away. I'm still trying to figure out what in the production process of bourbon does this for me. It could be the heavy use of corn spirit or the barrel charring, or a combination of both, or something unknown to me.

I’ll readily admit my bias when it comes to bourbons I think are engineered to keep on the beaten path.

Still, the larger issue I have with Larceny is that there's already a product in the Heaven Hill portfolio I would recommend much more highly: the 7-year Bernheim wheat whiskey. As a delicate secondary grain, the wheat used in the Larceny fights with what I'm pretty sure is a very high ratio of corn. Bernheim, on the other hand, makes the wheat the primary grain and allows you to really see what the difference is between that and a rack-grade bourbon. 

I like a lot of different, wildly varying tastes in my spirits, so I'll readily admit my bias when it comes to bourbons I think are engineered to keep on the beaten path. As a “wheater” bourbon, the Larceny tastes okay and is bottled at a generous 46% ABV—and the price is pretty fair, too. Unfortunately, I don't think it uses its secondary grain to successfully differentiate itself, and the cloying finish ends every sip I take with a whimper rather than a bang.

If you think I'm crazy, I'd recommend picking up a taster to form your own opinion. Otherwise I think there are far better options.

Nose: Buttered pancakes with maple syrup.
Taste: Maple at the forefront that jockeys back-and-forth with waves of butterscotch candy.
Finish: Corn-heavy and cloying, though not without some refreshing orange.
Misc: 46% ABV, produced at Heaven Hill. A “high wheat” bourbon formula.
Price: $24
Overall Rating