Well, @bourbon_paddy made me do it. We were chatting not too long ago and some of his most excitable whiskey descriptors were used to portray the quality of this Larceny batch, so I had to give it a go myself. I historically have not been crazy for these Larceny barrel proof releases, finding batch A120 to be quite lackluster. Check out his review here! I'll be going into this glass without having read into it too closely so I can form my own opinions here now, but definitely check out his thorough reviews for yourself. Here goes... This is Larceny's last chance to wow me before I might go all in on team Elijah Craig... Let's get to it!
Company on Label: Old Fitzgerald Distillery (Heaven Hill)
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 68% Corn, 20% Wheat, and 12% Malted Barley
Age: 6 years (a blend of 6 to 8 year barrels)
Further identification: Batch C921 is the 3rd and final release from 2021
Nose: A very traditional bourbon caramel immediately rises off the surface of the glass. Pepper dances around the edges of the glass as an incredibly soft leather greets me as well. There's a hint of a bright copper metallic note early on in the glass that fades into a nice base of cashew and peanut brittle as time goes on. The nose is quite light in intensity with no big evidence of any proof to be found. Molasses, dark earth, and hints of dark chocolate are really great layers to find now as this opens up. I find this nose to be quite moody and brooding with the dark earth tones really presenting the most intently. Time for a sip to see if things open up differently on the palate.
Coming back after a few sips to explore the nose further I find that the nutty aromas of cashew and peanut have jumped back into the foreground and combined with the sugary sweet pecan note I was getting on the palate. Digging deeper I'm able to find a nice baking-sweet vanilla. The darkness of the early glass seems far away as funky malt, level oak, and a touch of barbecue smoke have transitioned this glass into something quite enjoyable. There's definitely some savory notes coming off the glass that made me think of barbecue smoke in particular. As the glass weathers on the sweetness from the palate starts to drift in. For the most part I actually enjoyed the contrast between nose and palate here where the overall complexity of the pour benefited from that crossover. The empty glass smells of confectioners sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup soaked oak.
Palate: My first sip is really a complete surprise as delicious cherry hots flash up, sizzle on the tip of my tongue and then settles into a nutty cherry pie linger. I also taste a lovely maple-roasted candied pecan dessert as my first sip trails off slowly. Another sip is much more manageable from a flashy proof perspective, but the same lovely cherry persists. There's orange peel, grape jelly and a soft tingle of herbal tea sticking in my gums. I had no idea I was going to enjoy this pour this much on the palate based on the aromas I was finding on the nose. The mouth coating is just the right weight for any occasion; it's not so heavy you find yourself reaching for a glass of water after every sip, nor is it fleeting in any sense of that word. The entirety of my mouth is coated with a caramel nut tart and I'm here for it as the flavors hangs on clearly for the better part of a full minute. Yum; another sip builds in more fruit sweetness with plum, blackberry and flashes of pomegranate. A custard sweetness sits atop fig tart. This batch of Larceny actually really reminds me of a good Booker's batch - something that I haven't revisited in a long while. A bigger sip and swish reminds you of the proof point you are working with as black pepper, cinnamon and a flashy brandy sweetness sting the tongue. Nearing the end of the glass a faint bit of salted molasses struck through in a surprising departure from the rest of the experience. There's a fair bit of buttery toffee in the linger. My last sip has built up an array of baking spices that excite the palate with ginger, brown sugar, cookie dough, and nutmeg coming through strongly.
Bonus head to head review! Immediately after finishing the C921 review I decided to briefly revisit my A120 batch as I never actually formally reviewed that pour. It's been fairly low and should have experienced some changes due to oxidation by this point in the bottle, but I wanted to explore if this batch is truly a cut above the rest. The A120 presents distinctly hotter without the vibrant sweet fruit that the C921 delivered. The A120 nose presents with much more of that white-washed, bright paper quality that some Heaven Hill oak tends to do. The A120 is distinctly more tannic and bitter, but I find still find myself liking it more than I recall. There's a funny captain crunch cereal note I hadn't experienced before, but the proof imbalance continues to make me feel as though this A120 batch isn't as refined as it could be (like C921 delivered above). So I'll definitely be giving C921 the nod here in this brief head to head. Let me know if you have had either batch and what you thought of them!
Larceny, you can definitely stay Amongst the Whiskey still. Trying this batch was certainly eye opening.
Cheers to another great week up ahead of us here!