What Lady of the Glen say:
A 21yo single ex-bourbon Cask
Bottled at Cask Strength, with only 320 bottles available, this is non-chill filtered and has an ABV of 53.6%. Price £95 and available directly here, currently on advance order. Each bottle is numbered and comes in its own bespoke bag.
With roots as old as 1750 the Littlemill Distillery was rumoured to be the oldest in Scotland before it burned down in 2004. Aged in an American oak ex-bourbon cask for 21 years using water sourced from the Kilpatrick Springs, this malt has a clean colour similar to Pinot Grigio. Anticipate a little soft fruitiness on the nose when neat but add water for a burst of tropical pineapple and melon. Enjoy the smooth taste of lemon ice cream on the tongue and custard dessert as a comforting aftertaste.
What we say
The Littlemill distillery was located in Bowling, West Dunbartonshire and produced Lowland malts. This distillery changed hands several times and had many closed periods until it was finally dismantled in 1997 with the remains ravaged by fire in 2004. There are a few casks still about, although I would imagine there are not that many left, and Lady of the Glen have released this 21yo.
Nose: An initial note of soap for me, tough carbolic soap, which is so typical of Littlemill’s. However this is much softer than others I have tried. This quickly evolves with soft, creamy, buttery, malted notes, light and sugary, reminiscent of the malted milk biscuits I remember from primary school milk breaks. Gentle fruits start to come through, gala melon, a hint of lemon zest with strong, fresh, oak bringing up the rear.
Hotter than I expected, although this heat quickly tapers off, becoming lighter and smoother. Toffee sweetness and malty chewiness are present in abundance, before pineapple and banana notes march in. And then before you get into your comfort zone this dram changes, in comes the vanilla you may expect but with more of a kick. Green peppercorns balanced with lemongrass, fading into soft orchard fruits, pancake mix and thick school dinner’s custard with a hint of mustiness and Thai spices to keep you on your toes.
Longer than I expected, the lovely toffee notes and spice hang about for a while before tapering off allowing a little lemon sherbet tang to come through, bringing with it just a hint of grassy freshness. Delicate yet powerful, complex and fragile. A lovely malt that surprised me and I would definitely recommend, a fair price for 21yo from a closed distillery. If you are thinking about ordering one then I wouldn’t hang about.
Nose: Cooled, boiled milk mixing in a sink with carbolic soap shavings. Slight hint of oranges giving way to a milk chocolate sauce.
Palate: Hot oranges, quickly giving way into a rich oakiness, before the boiled milk from the nose re-enters, caramel crème and a slight nuttiness take over as the main components.
Finish: More caramel and chocolate dissolving into tart fruit, before disappearing all too quickly, making you want to take another sip. Not a distillery that I am a true fan of, however this is one of the better drams I have had from this now demolished Lowland distillery.
A big thank you to Gregor Hannah of Lady of the Glen (@LotGWhisky) for our sample.