12th October 2015
Time for something a little bit different, still brought to you through Steve Rush (@thewhiskywire), this time it’s a #flashblog, what’s a flash blog I hear you cry, well I’ll tell you. A flash blog is a new initiative, where several participants, worldwide, all taste and review a whisky, in this case it is the new Littlemilll Private Cellar Edition 25 year old, and we all post our reviews on the same date.
We will be retweeting our fellow flash bloggers as their reviews arrive, but you can also follow the #Littlemill and @littlemill2015.
The History of Littlemill Distillery
The Littlemill distillery was officially established in 1772 on the site of an old brewery that had been founded during the 14th century in Bowling on the banks of the River Clyde near Glasgow. It is also rumoured that illicit distilling had taken place here since 1750 when the site was bought by George Buchan, a malt maser, and according to the renowned whisky historian and writer Misako Udo in her book “The Scotch Whisky Distilleries” distilling may have taken place here for many centuries before, possibly making it the world’s oldest whisky distillery.
It’s a tragedy that Littlemill fell into perpetual silence in 1994 and then the distillery was destroyed by fire in 2004. All that is left is the ghost of Littlemill and of course the last remaining drops of an outstanding single malt whisky. Once consumed an important part of Scotland’s and Scotch whisky’s heritage will be lost forever.
About Littlemill Private Cellar Edition 25 year old
Master blenders John Petersen and Michael Henry have dipped and nosed the remaining casks of 1989 and 1990 in the Littlemill warehouse. From these casks they have selected ten which they believe to best represent the quality and style of whisky from the Littlemill Distillery.
The ten casks were then married together to deliver this exceptional 25 year old lowland single malt whisky.
The 1989 liquid went into the cask on 17th December 1989 at 68.5%, and the 1990 was casked between 1st and 4th April 1990 at between 68.6% and 68.7%.
The liquid was originally laid down in a mixture of the finest American and European Oak casks and for this first bottling it has been married together and has experienced a period of finishing in first fill European Oloroso Sherry casks.
Rare amongst lowland malts in using a highland water source, as well as peat from Stornoway and Perthshire, Littlemill is known for a subtly floral, vanilla-rich sweetness. A sip of this fine whisky is more than just memorable please. It is a unique and historic experience.
There are just 1500 individually numbered limited edition bottles from this demolished distillery and bottled at 50.4%
Fresh vanilla pods intermingle with rich cocoa butter, there are sumptuous butterscotch notes with a hint of cocoa powder. Next up are gentle orange blossoms and honeysuckles, with a heather moor on a summer’s day giving this a very delicate floral nose.
The sweetness continues however, with icing sugar and buttercream, with the vanilla gently and comfortingly tying both the floral and sweet notes together. There is a hint of spice on the nose with nutmeg and all spice finding orange peel and lemon curd, with juicy sultanas, pineapple cubes and plums. There are notes of soft braeburn apples, drizzled with honey, and sugar which has been burnt to a gentle crust.
There is a sweet biscotti nuttiness, with creamy cashews and rich oak notes coming through. Beeswax on old church pews and sawdust.
Fruity with peaches, pears, mango and papaya which wasn’t present on the nose, this is quickly replaced with an intense, unexpected heat, with cloves, cinnamon, and chili powder, before the toffee from the nose arrives. The vanilla comes through with a gentle richness, the finest quality vanilla ice cream, with vanilla sugar.
Cocoa butter and milk chocolate combine, and heather honey is quick to follow. The pineapple notes from the nose make a brief appearance, however these are soon dominated by oak and bitter coffee beans and freshly crushed autumn leaves.
The polished wood notes from the nose are still present, and they bring about a real depth, bringing with it some of the dark stewed fruits and a hint of marzipan.
Long and creamy, layer upon layer of fruity sweetness, before the chili heat has one final hurrah. There are drying tannins, but the vanilla combined with orchard fruits keeps this sweet yet punchy, before dying out with plump raisins, cherries and dates with just a touch of yeasty, marmite meatiness.
On the nose this starts very gentle, it’s light and delicate, with lashings of vanilla cream and cocoa notes. The fruits are orchard and it’s toffee sweet, with touches of floral notes at the start, however once on the palate a whole plethora of fruits are released.
The sweetness is still there, the vanilla being the star of the show, but once those oaky, nutty notes come through there is an intense burst of heat. The finish is long and lingering and this is where you notice the sherry influence starting to come in.
Those juicy stewed fruits are there, coupled with baking spices and some molasses. The marmite, savoury note at the very end was a surprise, but most welcome. This is incredibly well balanced, and something I would like to drink again and again.
Personally I think the price point is a little high and there’s no secret that this aimed at both drinkers and investors. This is a great whisky but I am not sure it’s a £2,000 whisky, however, such is the price of whiskies from demolished distilleries these days. If you have the chance to try it, then do, if you have deep pockets and long arms buy it, but if you do buy it, open the bottle and drink it, you won’t be disappointed.
A massive burst of warm toffee, followed by crisp fresh air, with a slight hint of citrus hiding behind fresh wood shavings.
The toffee from the nose is there, swirling round like a toffee penny Quality Street. Some citrus notes faintly appear. Fresh blackberries and raspberries are next to arrive bringing with them a touch of spicy heat. Not too much, just enough to give it a little kick. The toffee remains throughout and is joined by some oaky notes from the nose.
The finish is warm, medium in length with a touch of spice and the toffee remains.
This isn’t a bad dram, however, nothing about it sets the world on fire. I enjoyed the toffee notes but I feel there isn’t much to it apart from that. I don’t think this is a dram that you will remember years down the line or even months. I believe that at 25 years it has maybe been in the cask too long. The price point of £2,000 seems to be more about presentation than substance. Nothing spectacular and your money could go a lot further elsewhere.
Here’s a link to some of our fellow Flashblogger’s notes.