Looking back at my previous spirit reviews, which tend to be bourbon heavy, I was surprised to see that I have yet to review a wheated bourbon, such as Larceny. For those not familiar with bourbon, it is a whiskey that is made with three grains Corn (at least 51%), barley, and rye or wheat. The percentages of these grains is the preference of the distillery, usually the corn percentage is much higher, and very rarely barley is omitted (buffalo trace is known for doing this occasionally). The major mashbill that you see most often utilizes rye, with some distilleries preferring more as a high-rye mashbill, such as Four Roses, this adds a nice spicy flavor that is very distinctive of rye.
Wheat however is a particular grain that is not very common in nice bourbon. The notable exception to this is Makers Mark, although many of the other major bourbons do not utilize it. The other time that wheat is common is in high aged spirits, such as the Pappy Van Winkle line, but overall it seems most distillers want to have at least some rye in their juice, and if you are a rye fan like me you will understand why. Wheated bourbon however has a special place on my bar, as its unique flavor is a nice change of pace from the traditional rye-based whiskey.
On the nose Larceny is sweet, with fruity notes such as cherry and raisin. There is also a bit of cinnamon and maple syrup. The absence of rye is noticeable as although I wouldn’t call it smooth, there is no spice notes in there other than the wood itself.
Upon tasting this bourbon is very warm, with almost a cinnamon spice mouth feel. This defiantly mellows out over time, and can be lowered with a few drops of water but is a very interesting burn to me. Unlike some more harsh bourbons the burn is not a bad thing, nor does it cover up the great flavor of the bourbon, it also tends to come and go as you drink it. Other flavors that stand out to me are caramel and strong oak flavor, like chewing on wood chips, again not bad but strong in flavor.
Overall Larceny is a great example of a wheated bourbon, and “unrefined” would be a great way to explain it. This bourbon reminds me of the Boston bartender who first served it to me with his remark of “its a bourbon” after he poured it as a recommendation for me to try, and a bourbon it is indeed, nothing to hide there!