September 19, 2019
There’s a halo around wheated bourbons, especially around the big names such as Weller, Van Winkle, and Old Fitzgerald. It’s sometimes easy to forget that Maker’s Mark, Larceny, and Rebel Yell are also wheated bourbons but so much easier to find. Larceny (from Heaven Hill) and Rebel Yell (from Luxco) are two of the more affordable and widely distributed wheated bourbons with no hype, no lines, and no hunters clearing the shelves.
Larceny Wheated Bourbon and Rebel Yell 100 Proof Wheated Bourbon have an interesting relationship. Luxco, the owner of the Rebel Yell brand, is rumored to source their wheated bourbon from Heaven Hill, the creators of Larceny. These two wheated bourbons then might be considered fraternal bourbon twins. There aren’t any details into the barrels that Luxco buys, so there’s no way to say how Larceny and Rebel Yell differ (apart from the proof) without drinking them. Lucky for you and I, I have a sample bottle of each, so let’s dive into this Larceny vs Rebel Yell 100 Wheated Bourbon comparison to see what differences or lack thereof I can find.
The below table outlines key facts and figures for each wheated bourbon:
How to Read the Chart
Larceny is in blue, and Rebel Yell 100 is in orange. The center of the circle indicates none of a trait. Further out the line indicates a stronger presence of that trait.
The scale (from inside to out):
It’s so interesting to compare these two Heaven Hill-made wheated bourbons and discover how Luxco and Heaven Hill went in very different directions with the exact same mash. Apart from visually, Rebel Yell 100 is noticeably darker in every way, carrying brown sugar and caramel with healthy servings of oak, spice, cocoa, dark cherry, and dried orange peel. The dark oak, spice, and cocoa are pervasive (but in a good way) throughout the scents and flavors, providing cola-like scents and flavors. I even get a mint-like sensation that usually comes from rye. It also has a slightly thicker mouthfeel and a little extra heat from the higher proof.
On the other hand, Larceny is brighter and lighter with honey, wheat bread, nuts, orange juice, fresh cherries, peach, and some oak and spice. The oak remains docile on the nose and gets a little stronger on my tongue, and later transforms into a grassier finish. The wheat bread makes Larceny smells more like a wheated bourbon than Rebel Yell 100 does.
Overall, I like Larceny just a bit more because it provides more balance between sweet, wood, and spice, but both are still great “budget” bourbons to consider trying. I really do enjoy Rebel Yell 100’s oak-forward and generally dark personality, but for today, Larceny takes the crown.