Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Have just tried ... Littlemill 19 years old 'Old & Rare' from Douglas Laing & Co

littlemill 19 years old 'old & rare'Littlemill was a distillery located in the Lowlands region of Scotland, situated to the north west of Glasgow between the towns of Clydebank and Dumbarton. Production ceased at the distillery in 1992 and a majority of the buildings have since been demolished. Had it still been in operation today, Littlemill would have been Scotland's oldest distillery. It was founded in 1772, three years before the current oldest at Glenturret started production, although records show that a distillery was operating on the site as early as the 1750s. The common Lowland practice of triple distillation was followed until 1930, when they switched to double distillation.

The stock of Littlemill is declining, as no new whisky has been produced for 17 years. As a result Littlemill whisky is hard to find and is becoming rarer as time passes. The majority of what is left is owned by the Loch Lomond Distillery Company, who release a 12 years old, and a number of the independent bottling companies. Buying independent bottlings remains the best way to try a Littlemill whisky as Loch Lomond only sporadically release limited numbers of the 12 years old. It can occasionally be bottled as Dunglas or Dumback (a smoky version) but both are exceptionally rare and very expensive.

This 19 years old is released by the Glasgow based independent bottler Douglas Laing & Co and forms part of their 'Old & Rare' premium range of whiskies. Just a single cask has been released resulting in only 333 bottles and the price is just over £100 for a bottle. The colour is golden and the nose has all the classic notes of quality bourbon cask maturation - lots of vanilla, oaky wood and sweet coconut (reminding me of a Bounty bar). There is also plenty of grainy cereals present and some yeast (think of a robust grainy style of bread). On the palate, this is again very grainy with lots of vanilla and coconut. Something quite sweet and sugary comes through (imagine butterscotch), as does a herbal grassy note (think of dried grasses or hay). The slight bitterness of this herbal note balances the overall sweetness of the other elements. The finish is long and pleasant with a similar combination of bitter grassiness and sweet cereal grains. As the alcohol level is 55.4% ABV, some water was added and this made the whisky lighter and fresher with a more floral nose (think of honeysuckle) and a citrus note present on the palate (imagine orange zest).

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