Fitzgerald did have a discerning palate for fine bourbon and would use his warehouse keys to pilfer the best barrels of bourbon as they aged. The barrels, which became known as "Fitzgerald barrels," and the brand were immortalized when Pappy Van Winkle named Old Fitzgerald bourbon after the treasury agent, and added a "Whisper of Wheat" to his bourbon's recipe. By using wheat rather than rye as the secondary grain in the bourbon's mash bill, Pappy imparted a rounder, softer flavor profile in Old Fitz as compared to other bourbons at the time.
The extremely successful Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon was launched in 2012 by Heaven Hill Distillery and pays homage to both John E. Fitzgerald's superb taste and the legacy of the Old Fitzgerald brand. Its big brother — the small batch barrel proof version — will be released thrice per year and bottled at (varying) barrel proof with no chill filtering. True to the tradition of Old Fitz, this wheated bourbon replaces rye with wheat and features a mash bill of 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley. As a result, Larceny Bourbon has a sweeter, softer, and rounder flavor profile compared to bourbons that use rye as their secondary grain. The resulting bourbon has bready notes, honey, vanilla, maple, dark sugar, nuts, and light cinnamon, along with a hint of oak and spice that provides for a subtle edge that finishes with a prolonged warmth. Each batch is planned to have bourbon aged 6 to 8 years.