Wow. First time we’ve reviewed a Littlemill. Weird. I think I have a couple more samples in the archives. Guess I should check and write up a few more.
Littlemill is one of those silent stills we like to romanticize a little bit. It’s a distillery that was lost more than twenty years ago – long after the rash of distillery closures that rocked the whisky world in the early ’80s – but one that has never carried the same sort of emotional (or financial) resonance that other lost gems such as Port Ellen, Rosebank or Brora do. Littlemill was shuttered for good in 1994 and, after being gutted for equipment and suffering a rather nasty blaze, the distillery was subsequently demolished. No chance of a rebirth for this Lowland malt of fair, but not inflated, repute.
This particular expression was the second release of an official 21 y.o. that hit shelves before the owners decided they wanted a piece of the big pie. The next Littlemill OB would be a 25 y.o. with a fat four figure price tag. As you can imagine that one swiftly proceeded to…yep…sit unsold on shelves the world over. Tsk tsk. Greed.
Neat malt though when all is said and done. Enjoyable, unique and not too badly priced. Limited run of only 4,550 bottles, so probably long gone in most markets.
Nose: Lovely, naked, mature nose. Probably a bit too naked for those looking for big personality. Soft and creamy/custardy. Fresh made flan. Wind over grain fields (I know, I know…cheesy as hell). A hint of black current cough drops. Vanilla, but not in that over-vanilla’d sort of way. Very, very soft spice palette.
Palate: Quite an attack. Dry and gingery. More of that black current note. Or maybe the seeds of black grapes. Lacks the softer fruits I’d expect in a malt of this age. Oak is firm, as is the cereal backbone. Maybe a touch of citrus pith. Quite drying.
Thoughts: A very singular dram. And interesting all the way through. Yet…nowhere spectacular.
*Thanks to my mate Mike for passing this one over. Cheers!
– Images & Words: Curt