Tag Archive: littlemill


Littlemill: Dunglass 5 Year (Scottish Lowland Single Malt Whisky: 5 Year: 40% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold colour, with quite slow puckering from the spirit.

Nose: Clean vanilla. Ash. Dried beef slices. Alcoholic lime. Broken rocks. Alcohol tingle. Water makes gentle. Light moss and gentle peat.

Body: Smooth. Lime. Vanilla toffee. Cream. Managed peat. Water adds more ash like notes and heavier smoke.

Finish: Vanilla fudge. Smoke. Slightly dry. Water adds heavier smoke. More water brings out a wet cardboard note.

Conclusion: Now, for all they are prized for collectors, with a lot of dead distilleries I can see why they died. A lot are not particularly stand out in the whisky world. This distillery, and more so than just the distillery, this particular Dunglass style expression – why did this not survive?

As a pretty expensive dram it is fairly simple for what you are paying. It is smooth, very obviously lowland character with smooth vanilla. The peat used is gentle, and while there is a bit of youthful alcohol it is still generally smooth, and the little bump it has can easily be smoothed out with a few drops of water. It would seem to be a very stereotypical smooth lowland if it wasn’t for that gentle peat.

That gentle peat? That is such a pleasure. Not fancy, but it gives a very different character to this easy to drink whisky. A tasty peat character but without any of the harshness that usually comes with peat – in fact this is gentler than most of the unpeated whisky on the market.

If you add more than just a drop of water to this it does become more ash filled, more peaty and heavier. Not bad, but it makes it lose its raison d’etre. There are many better peatier and heavy whiskies than this with some water, but none that are as lowland smooth, sweet and yet peated as it is before you add that water. At least none that have been encountered by me. In fact I was surprised to find out Littlemill was not triple distilling at this time as this very much has that character. A bit more water also adds a less pleasant wet cardboard note, this is definitely just a drop or two of water dram.

As a rare whisky it is too expensive for what it should be – a gentle, easy drinking whisky with that surprising touch of peat weight, but I genuinely want an easier to buy whisky like this. Someone please make and release it. This is simple, satisfying, sweet and peaty and you can’t go wrong with it except for the higher price.

Background: So, another chance to try a dead distillery, thought technically the distillery is not a new one to me. I got to try a Littlemill a long time back at the Rummer Hotel. This however is a rare lightly peated expression they did in the late 1960s, with the actual distillery closing in 1992 (ish? I’ve seen 1994 listed as well, and it had closed previously in 1984 – frankly don’t trust these dates too much, I’ve seen too many different ones) and dismantled 1997. Looks like they also did a heavily peated one called Dumbuck, but I’ve not tried that one. Anyway saw this 5 year old miniature at Old and Rare Whisky. As I have mentioned before they are expensive, even for the whisky they sell, but the chance to try this whisky without needed to buy a full and very expensive bottle was an opportunity I did not want to pass up. As you can tell from the spirit being made in the 60s and this being 5 years old, this bottle has been around a while, and the cap seemed to almost fuse with the bottle. Took some proper effort to get it off and to the whisky inside. There isn’t any abv listed on the bottle, but the listing online said 40% abv so that is what I put here. Wanted some light but haunting music for backing so went with Celeste: Farewell.

Connoisseurs Choice: Littlemill 1991 (Scottish Lowland Single Malt Whisky: 19 Years: 43% ABV)

Visual: Slightly banana hued gold.

Viscosity: Medium quite thick streaks.

Nose: Planed wood. Banana skin and vanilla. Toffee. Slight alcohol air. Lime. Grain fields. Cream. Dry roasted peanuts.

Body: Wood. Chestnut honey. Light custard slice influence. Nutmeg. Chestnuts. With water becomes more nutty and even more water brings out malt loaf.

Finish: Honey. Perfume that has been breathed in. Light oak. Roasted nuts. Milk chocolate. Light alcohol burn. The nuts really last. More water adds raisins.

Conclusion: So, another closed distilleries spirit hunted down and sampled. This one is a very light whisky, as is oft expected from the lowlands. What isn’t as expected is the flavour being predominantly dedicated to exploration of rounded nuttiness. It seems like a smooth lowland take on the Strathisla spirits. In fact the nuttiness last impressively on the finish. For such a light whisky it manages to hold the flavour for an age after you have finished sipping.

It is a whisky that works better on larger mouthfuls than smaller, and enjoys just a drop or two of water to get it set right. Taken like that the sweetness and nuttiness seem to have much more room to grow.

Not the most complex whisky, but it does have a few notes of chocolate and lime to round it out. Overall very easy to drink, and while straightforward in style it is very much a whisky that knows what impression it wants to give and delivers it well. In its ideal few drops of water state the flavour just floats through the air of your mouth perfectly.

A dead distillery that will be missed on the basis of this whisky.

Background: Bottled 2010 and aged in refill bourbon casks.  Littlemill is a closed distillery. I had seen this at the Rummer Hotel a while back and kept meaning to give it a try as it’s a new distillery on me. It was a friend’s birthday recently and we decided to enjoy some whisky there; it seemed a perfect time to give it a try. Connoisseurs choice has always been a hit with me for bringing good priced bottles of rare and closed distilleries to the market which gives me a chance to try a lot of distilleries that would otherwise pass me by.

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