A lovely little Littlemill

Lady Of The Glen

Littlemill. Sadly, an unfamiliar name to the newest whisky-drinking generation due to its demise in 1997 when it was dismantled. To add salt to the wound, the remnants were burned to the ground in a fire in 2004. But before I get all misty-eyed with thoughts of ‘what might have been…’ let’s delve back into the (lengthy) history to see what this distillery was all about.

Based in the village of Bowling in West Dumbartonshire, this distillery sat right on the Highland line. Due to the spirit being triple distilled until 1931, before it switched to double distillation, it was considered a Lowland malt despite drawing its water from the Kilpatrick Springs which are situated above the Highland line. It could well be the oldest distillery in Scotland, having been mentioned in the purchase of the Auchentorlie Estate in the 1750s. George Buchanan is credited with founding the distillery proper in 1772 which makes it older than Bowmore (1779), Balblair (1790), Oban (1794), and Highland Park (1798), however these other distilleries are all still in operation and some of these claims are kinda disputed.

Production was relatively stable and untroubled at Littlemill until 1929 when it closed for a couple of years before re-opening in 1931 and switching from triple to double distillation and using saladin boxes for malting barley. Production continued with some experimental whiskies being produced in the 1960s and early 1970s – a heavily peated spirit called Dumbuck, and an unpeated spirit called Dunglas. The distillery again changed hands a few times up until 1984 when it closed again only to reopen in 1989.

Sadly, it closed for good in 1994, was dismantled in 1997 and as I mentioned before, was eventually destroyed by fire in 2004. So there you are, a very brief history of Littlemill. Where did this history lesson come from? Well, the arrival of a Littlemill 21yo single cask sample from independent bottlers ‘Lady of the Glen’ may have had something to do with it.

Littlemill 21yo Single Cask
Lady of the Glen
Ex-bourbon cask – non-chill filtered
309 bottles only
53.6% ABV
£95 from here

Nose: Fresh laundry, pear syrup, waxy apples and pineapple juice with toffee chews, sawdust and cinnamon pretzels underneath. Lots of layers and very inviting.

Palate: Lemon meringue, hard white icing, oodles of vanilla, apple refresher sweets, white grapes with some floral notes and a touch of marzipan.

Finish: Tingling sweet spices, with vanilla and a lemon cleanliness.

Overall: Really good. Like really good. Lots of fruity juiciness layered with touches of spice and lovely clean citric notes. There are some hints to its age but it remains remarkably fresh and vibrant. There’s very little Littlemill kicking around and stocks are only going to diminish considering the distillery site now consists of new-build homes. My advice: buy it. Honestly, buy it. You won’t be disappointed and when the hell else will you be able to drink a single cask 21yo Littlemill for under a hundred notes?



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