Monday, September 14, 2009

In the whisky cupboard ... Littlemill 12 years old

littlemill 12 years oldLittlemill is a closed distillery that was located in the Lowlands region of Scotland, situated to the north west of Glasgow between the towns of Clydebank and Dumbarton. Production at the distillery finished in 1992 following its owners going into liquidation and if it had still been in operation today, Littlemill would be Scotland's oldest distillery. It was founded in 1772, three years before the current oldest at Glenturret started production, although records show that an illegal distillery was operating on the site as early as the 1750s.

The stocks of Littlemill whisky are in decline, as no new whisky has been produced for over 17 years. It is also unlikely that the distillery will be started as it has been dismantled and most of the buildings demolished. 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 only this 12 years old, and a number of the independent bottling companies. Buying an independent bottling remains the best way to try a Littlemill whisky as Loch Lomond only sporadically release limited numbers of this 12 years old.

The colour of this Littlemill 12 years old is golden yellow with a nose that is aromatic and a touch unusual. On the nose, there is a pleasant sweetness (think of toffee or butterscotch), heaps of cereal grains, a hint of some tropical fruit (maybe mangoes but definitely coconut) and a distinct grassiness (imagine dried grass, straw and hay). On the palate, these characteristics are well replicated and it feels warm, buttery and creamy. It is the cereal grains, sweet toffee and grassiness that are particularly prominent. There is also just a hint of some nuts (think of almonds) and some warm spice, like ginger. Despite its richness, it finishes freshly in the mouth, giving a mixture of that toffee/buttercotch/cereal sweetness, the grassiness (this has more freshness this time, like hay) and just a final whiff of raw spirit. That combination may not sound great on paper but it works really well, with the herbal notes balancing the richer sweet ones.

Littlemill 12 years old is a good whisky that is enjoyable, refreshing and uncomplicated. The prominent grassiness and distinct cereal notes may put some people off but it is well worth a try before it runs out. It also represents great value at between £25-30, especially when you consider that it is from a closed distillery and the stocks are dwindling. You will generally only find this in selected specialist whisky retailers.


Barnaby said...

i like Scottish whiskeys. they have great and distinct taste. i love to have them with my cuban cigars..

Paddy O'Neils said...

i too love whiskey with my cigars. it just fits like corn beef and cabbage.