“Castrate the sumbitch if he recommends a Littlemill”
That sentence said by one of my whisky friends who shall remain nameless, sums up my love for Littlemill. I’m not as addicted as some, as getting my hands on them versus eating on a regular basis comes into conflict.
That all said, I was lucky enough in the past few months to try two such whiskies.
Littlemill is a defunct distillery from the Lowlands. And while I am a lover of peat, I can’t get past my love of lime, limestone, and lime flowers. Oh and all the other great things that come from a good Lowland.
So let’s see how these did, shall we?
Littlemill 27 1985 Whiskymax Spirit & Cask Range
Price: € 350
Cask number: 100
Number of bottles: 240
Colour: 10Y 9/6
Nose: Key lime pie, banana, vanilla, mango, raisins
The nose is a tad light, but wow does it have some strong, unctuous fruit notes. Sweet, tropical, some vanilla, and a bit of richness with water. It does take some time to coax out though.
Taste: Raisins, anise, pineapple, graham cracker crust, limestone, cloves
Here we go, the taste doesn’t need as much coaxing. It dives into rich flavours, doubles down on tropical, and even has butter. Water brings out a strong mineral note and enhances your whole life with spices.
There’s a reason people died getting spices: They taste amazing. Oh and colonialism. But the taste was a contributing factor (yes, also the ability to keep things fresh thus being a contributor to facilitating the large, terrible colonial holdings through transport).
Finish: White chocolate, dried pineapple, panna cotta, mineral, brown sugar, grass
Long finish, with even more richness, creaminess, and some added molasses/rich notes. Water isn’t needed as much for the finish, and I’d say the benefits to the taste/nose are divided by the less complex notes that happen to the finish, however, I really kept enjoying it the more I had.
Conclusion: Light nose, but the quintessential Lowland. Mineral, acidity, tropical notes, creaminess, touches of spice, baked goods, and lovely rich notes all make this quite amazing.
That said, the lighter nose and some of the issues with less complexity on the finish when I added water lower the score a tad for me. Really at the end of the day, if you ended up drinking this, you’re a happy camper. Assuming you like floral drams, that is.
Thanks to /u/ScotchGuyTO for sharing this dram.
Littlemill 20 1984 Hart Bros. Finest Collection
Price: € 100
Colour: 7.5Y 9/3
Nose: Rye bread, lemon, soap, honey, butter
Interesting, a bready/spice note at first. It goes into a soap/lemon/You’re-drinking-a-Lowland territory. Light, but not too light. Like the honey and butter that eventually get coaxed out.
Taste: Cotton candy, cereal, salted butter, rosemary
Sweet. Very sweet. Some cereal, some salty butter, some herbal notes. Very different than what I’d say was the “norm” for a Littlemill, but frankly, this is my fifth, the distillery is dead, and I may be off the mark there.
No rough notes though.
Finish: Cotton candy, heather, lemon, Werther’s
Herbal caramel-forward strong taste at the end which doubles down on diabetes and doesn’t let a walrus tell you to stop. I don’t hate it, though I did spend a long time trying to find a bit more.
Conclusion: Nice everyday dram, don’t get caught up in a Littlemill, closed distillery “this should be legendary” hype. I think the reason this dram isn’t like is two-fold: Most whisky drinkers don’t get the chance to try multiple Lowlands (which is a shame) and aren’t ready for that softer, floral aspect and secondly people read that this is a 20-year-old Littlemill and expect the norm.
For the original price, what it was made for, and all that fun stuff, it’d be a daily summer drinker. Lighter, nice, potentially too sweet to have many but nice to have instead of dessert (or with dessert). So if you see this, I’d say don’t pay a lot for a dram and don’t expect the moon, but don’t expect a kick in the teeth either.
Scotch review #1190-1, Lowland review #46-47, Whisky Network review #1834-5