One of the great things about bourbon is the wealth of stories behind the brands. Heaven Hill Distilleries is telling the newest story with its newest brand, Larceny Bourbon. A wheated bourbon like those in the Old Fitzgerald line that Heaven Hill acquired in 1999, Larceny will make its debut at Tales of the Cocktail this month in New Orleans and be released in 12 markets including Kentucky in September.
The story of the Old Fitzgerald brand forms the historical basis for Larceny Bourbon. We’ll let the distillery tell it: “According to industry lore, John E. Fitzgerald had founded his distillery in Frankfort, Ky., shortly after the Civil War ended, making his bourbon available only to steamship lines, rail lines and private clubs. This story was furthered by S.C. Herbst, who owned the ‘Old Fitz’ brand from the 1880s through Prohibition, and ‘Pappy’ Van Winkle, who purchased the brand during Prohibition and made it his signature label. However, it was revealed by Pappy’s granddaughter, Sally Van Winkle Campbell, in her 1999 book ‘But Always Fine Bourbon—Pappy Van Winkle and the Story of Old Fitzgerald,’ that in fact John E. Fitzgerald was not a famous distiller at all. He was in reality a treasury agent who used his keys to the warehouses to pilfer bourbon from the finest barrels. His discerning palate led those barrels to which he chose to help himself being referred to as ‘Fitzgerald barrels.’ “
Larceny’s tagline is, “A taste made famous by an infamous act.” The skeleton key on the label references the brand’s story and also the logo and tagline of Old Fitzgerald - “Your key to hospitality.”
Produced by master distillers Parker and Craig Beam, Larceny Bourbon is 92 proof and will retail for about $24.99 for the 750ml bottle.