The Murky History Of Larceny Bourbon

Unleashed in 2012 by the Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky, Larceny Bourbon carries the name John E. Fitzgerald on its label. The bourbon, made with wheat instead of rye in its mash bill, delivers creamy sips of a mellow palate that offers hints of molasses, spices, and butter. The best part is that bottles can be found for around $40, so you don't have to open your wallet too wide — or thieve from your local shop for a drink, as Fitzgerald himself was known to do.

As the story goes, Fitzgerald was a bonded U.S. Treasury Agent who held keys to the storage areas where aging bourbon barrels were kept. Fitzgerald used his esteemed position to his advantage and would sneak into the rickhouses to taste some of the best bourbon available, even pouring jugs to take home. It was only when the barrels were moved that this thievery was discovered, as some of the barrels were uncharacteristically lighter than what they should have been. These lighter barrels became known as Fitzgerald Barrels.

A disappearing act not due to angel's share

Adding to the dubiousness of Fitzgerald's character, rumors swirled that he had built a distillery of his own to sell bourbon strictly to exclusive buyers. A later biography exposed the reality that Fitzgerald never owned or built a distillery, yet his legacy of being one of the few holding keys to rickhouses was confirmed. Fitzgerald was, indeed, a master distiller himself, and before he left his place of employment, had paid an employee for a spare key so he could let himself into the more protected storage areas as he pleased, even without the title of being a paid government agent.

Fitzgerald's slinky reputation has long captured imaginations in the world of spirits, even inspiring the brand Old Fitzgerald in the 1880s. Though Larceny may not have been the first bourbon label to use Fitzgerald as creative inspiration, Fitzgerald's sleight of hand is now forever captured in Larceny's lineup of bourbon bottles, including Heaven Hill's Larceny Barrel Proof and Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon.