About John E. Fitzgerald Larceny Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
According to legend, John E. Fitzgerald founded a distillery along the banks of the Kentucky River shortly after the Civil War ended. Fitzgerald began distilling bourbon and selling it to passengers aboard the trains and steamships that passed through town. Shortly thereafter, Fitzgerald sold his brand "Old Fitzgerald Bourbon" to Julian P. "Pappy" Van Winkle for $10,000, a small fortune at the time. Pappy moved production of Old Fitz to his distillery, where it became one of the most famous bourbons in the world.
But if you ask Sally Van Winkle (Pappy's granddaughter), the story of John E. Fitzgerald and Old Fitz Bourbon is slightly more complicated and certainly more interesting. In 1999, Van Winkle revealed that Fitzgerald was not the man nor the distiller he claimed to be — he was, in fact, a bonded treasury agent. At the time, the Treasury Department was tasked with collecting taxes levied on spirits and as such, bonded treasury agents were the only people legally allowed to carry the keys to barrel storage warehouses.
Fitzgerald did have a discerning palate for fine bourbon and would use his warehouse keys to pilfer the best barrels of bourbon as they aged. The barrels, which became known as "Fitzgerald barrels," and the brand were immortalized when Pappy Van Winkle named Old Fitzgerald bourbon after the treasury agent, and added a "Whisper of Wheat" to his bourbon's recipe. By using wheat rather than rye as the secondary grain in the bourbon's mash bill, Pappy imparted a rounder, softer flavor profile in Old Fitz as compared to other bourbons at the time.
The extremely successful Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon was launched in 2012 by Heaven Hill Distillery and pays homage to both John E. Fitzgerald's superb taste and the legacy of the Old Fitzgerald brand. Its big brother — the small batch barrel proof version — will be released thrice per year and bottled at (varying) barrel proof with no chill filtering. True to the tradition of Old Fitz, this wheated bourbon replaces rye with wheat and features a mash bill of 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley. As a result, Larceny Bourbon has a sweeter, softer, and rounder flavor profile compared to bourbons that use rye as their secondary grain. The resulting bourbon has bready notes, honey, vanilla, maple, dark sugar, nuts, and light cinnamon, along with a hint of oak and spice that provides for a subtle edge that finishes with a prolonged warmth. Each batch is planned to have bourbon aged 6 to 8 years.
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There are not many things more American than bourbon, and although most of it is produced in Kentucky, it can be produced all over the USA.
It must be made with at least 51% corn and bottled at 40% ABV or higher. So why not give this American classic a try?
Check out our impressive selection of bourbons, find your new favorite in Top 10 bourbons, or explore our treasury of rare & hard to find bourbons.