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Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon (Batch C923)

Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon (Batch C923)

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Larceny Barrel Proof batch. I know that there are varying levels of hype around each release, but after the first few I had in 2020/2021, I decided to not pursue them in earnest. I feel the same way about Elijah Craig Barrel Proof batches as well. I wasn’t drinking them fast enough and I wasn’t finding enough differences from batch to batch to merit buying each new release.

I do have some friends who gleefully look forward to each new one – so I wait to hear their thoughts if there is any reason to go buy one. It just so happens that C923 was getting more hype than normal. There was no consensus as to what made it better, but the majority of them told me it basically had an “it” factor that made it better than recent releases. It’s been a while since I tried one, so I figured “why not?”

Larceny Barrel Proof basics

I don’t have much to expand on Larceny as a bourbon. Some of you will be thankful for that after my last few rye whiskey reviews were absolute books to get through. Digging around in my notes, I’m still tracking it’s made from the standard Heaven Hill wheated bourbon mash bill of 68% corn, 20% wheat and 12% malted barley. The yeast strain they use remains the same as their ryed bourbons. The distillate comes off the column still at 140 proof and goes into the barrel at 125. That makes Heaven Hill’s wheated bourbon barrel entry proof some of the highest in the industry – and that’s not something to be proud of.

Larceny is generally aged between 6 to 8 years. The barrels must spend their time around the middle to lower-middle warehouse floors because the batches come in – on average – a few proof points lower than the barrel entry proof. The quick math says that from A120 to C923, the average barrel proof is 123.1 proof. C923 isn’t the highest proofed batch of Larceny we’ve seen (that would be C922 at 126.6), but it’s close enough at 126.4.

Okay, enough about numbers. Let’s get down to tasting. I sampled this neat in a glencairn.

Tasting Notes

Nose: The nose starts off with classic sweet notes that I always expect from Heaven Hill bourbon. It’s like smelling a melted candy bar with caramel, chocolate and vanilla. Surprisingly, I’m not picking up on a nuttiness I usually find with Heaven Hill products. I’m also happy to report that the fruits on the nose are out in full force with cherry and citrus and some other assorted dark red fruit scents. There may not be a large variety of things to smell on this nose, but each note is powerful enough to make an impact.  

Palate: The first few sips are a bit too hot for me to hold on my tongue for very long. After it settles down, I can begin to pick out the flavors. For me, the fruit notes stand out first with more cherry and orange citrus flavors (much like the nose). Additionally, I find apple notes by way of a warm, mulled apple cider (which also describes the spice flavors I’m picking up on). Then come the sweet brown sugar and chocolate flavors followed by a nice compliment of oak and leather.

Finish: More of the same from the palate follows through to the finish. The cherries become juicier and the citrus peel tags along. Sweetness turns into more of a toffee aftertaste while a nice amount of oak follows along. Honestly, the oak following throughout has been one of the nicer surprises this bottle has had in store.

Score: 8.1/10

Sometimes “simple” is a quality in and of itself. With that being said, this batch of Larceny has a host of flavors that I’ve come to expect and nothing more. But its main strength is how strong they show up. You’re not going to miss them if you’re mindlessly sipping on it. That’s the joy of drinking these Larceny Barrel Proof batches.

Final Thoughts

While Larceny C923 didn’t really deliver many surprises, it still reminded me of what a great, high-proof sipping bourbon it is. It wears its proof better than a lot of other products out there and provides a healthy punch of flavors anyone can enjoy. Plus, the value (at retail and secondary) is a strong suit in this day and age of rising whiskey prices.

Larceny BP is always a good buy when you see it. But if unique traits and complexity are more your jam, this might not cut it. It’s a great bottle to always have on hand, but I think the differences are too small to have wide-ranging rating fluctuations. And unless Heaven Hill finally starts changing up the way they make their wheated bourbon (wait a minute…) then these should remain pretty consistent for years to come.

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Wednesday 21st of February 2024

Agree on the C923. A good pour for sure!


Thursday 14th of March 2024

@Michael, People like to say this one and that is the best. What is best is what taste good to you. I have a bottle of B523 and C923. The B was supposed to be the best. I haven't opened either yet but can assure you, both will be well worth the money I paid and I will enjoy both. Cheers!