Many years ago, I wrote about a bourbon that I fell in love with — Larceny. At the time, I spoke on the fact that it was a wheated bourbon, very much like my other favorites, Maker’s Mark and the Pappy Van Winkle line.
At the time I wrote about it in 2014, Larceny had already won the Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Double Gold means the vote was unanimous among the 39 judges and over 1,400 spirits entries. It had also received a 5-star recommendation from the 2013 Spirit Journal World’s Top 120 Spirits in the World. And just as important, a Best Buy from Whiskey Magazine due to its value cost compared to other premium bourbons.
I hadn’t circled back on this bourbon in a while, even though I almost always have a bottle in my home bar. Since my review, it has continued to receive award after award, most recently the Double Gold again at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and 93 points from the 2020 Ultimate Spirits Challenge. But it’s this next award that prompts me to write about Larceny this week. It has done something that no other wheated bourbon has ever done — won the 2020 Whisky of the Year from Whisky Advocate.
Every year, Whisky Advocate makes its list of the top 20 whiskies in the world according to their experts. Of the top 20, only one can be Whisky of the Year and Larceny went home with the prize. What does it take to win? First, to even be considered, it has to rate 90 points or more by the reviewers. Then it goes up against all the other top whiskies in a blind taste test. Any kind of whiskey can win — Scotch, Single Malt, Straight Rye, Japanese, etc. But only one can come out on top. And 2020 marks the first time a wheated bourbon has won.
I enjoy Larceny with just a few splashes of water over ice. Smooth as wheated bourbons should be with lots of character and mouthfeel.