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Whisk(e)y Reviews

June 2021

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Larceny Barrel Proof A120

As you work through your whiskey journey, you eventually start trying high proof whiskey. It takes some time to get used to something over 100 proof as the proof can be overwhelming to some. There is also the problem that a high proof whiskey is generally not tame. You can always start with the entry level bourbons like Old Weller Antique 107 (if you can find it), Baker's 7 (also at 107 proof), and others. There are more near a slightly higher 115 proof, like Old Ezra, Rare Breed, and Old Forester 1920. Once you get above that, you get into the real heavy proof dominated by the likes of Bookers, Elijah Craig, and Jack Daniel's Single Barrel.

As you taste these higher proof bourbons, you realize how much more flavor they contain over their lower proof cousins. In addition, it takes some serious skill to produce a bourbon at those high proofs that does not feel like it is going to burn through your throat. In some cases, a little water can tame the beast. Other times, nothing changes the dram and it is like drinking liquid fire. 

 

In this case, we are looking at the new Larceny Barrel Proof and its first batch, A120. Heaven Hill has another beast of a bourbon with their Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, and the releases of this Larceny will follow the same pattern of being released 3 times per year with the A/B/C designations. What makes this different is the fact that it is a wheated bourbon. There are not many commonly found high proof wheated bourbons, so I was very interested in what this would be like.

Notes:

 

  • No Age Statement, 6-8 Years Old

  • Distilled by Heaven Hill Distillery, Bardstown, Kentucky

  • 68% Corn, 20% Wheat, 12% Barley

  • Bottled at 61.6% ABV (123.2 proof)

  • Batch A120

 

Nose: 80/100

 

Lots of ethanol with butterscotch right behind. Caramel can be found directly beneath. A bit of peanuts and smoke in the background. Smoke and oak become more prevalent after time in the glass.

 

Palate: 76/100

 

Caramel and butterscotch vie for attention. It gets warm fairly quickly. The heat really overpowers everything else, though you can discern some oak and cinnamon in the background.

 

Finish: 80/100

 

Caramel, oak and smoke in a medium-length finish. There is a touch of cinnamon and it is quite warm.

 

Overall: 78/100

 

Recommendation:

Worth buying a pour.

 

Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of the standard Larceny. So, I did not have high expectations for this bottle. However, it is a solid bourbon at a very nice price. Water did tame the heat a little, but also tended to mute the flavor a bit. However, given Heaven Hill's abilities, this is definitely a barrel proof bourbon to watch. It is highly likely that this just gets much better with each successive batch. There aren't many affordable high proof wheaters, so I am hopeful that Heaven Hill finds the sweet spot for this offering.