Two Littlemills from the start of the 1990s
Littlemill Distillery was a Lowland distillery established back in 1772 (probably), making it one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland - possibly (probably?) until it closed. It changed owners many times, and had several periods during which it was closed. Production stopped for the last time in 1994. Most of the remnants of the distillery were destroyed in a fire in 2004.
Littlemill 1990 16 YO Old Malt Cask, 50 %
The first Littlemill in our glasses is the Littlemill 1990 16 YO Old Malt Cask- This is a release from independent bottler Douglas Laing. It was released before Fred and Stewart laing split the company. The Old Malt Cask brand is now with the Hunter Laing company.
This whisky was matured in a refill hogshead (cask #DL2930). It was distilled in October 1990, and bottled in October 2006, with a total outturn of 268 bottles.
Nose (21/25): Warm and a bit roughish. Vanilla, banana, apples, and something "green" - maybe a bit grassy. After a while it is no longer warm on the nose, it is more cool and distant. A bit aloof.
Taste (21/25): Apples, pepper, raw ginger (with a bit of bite). Oily mouthfeel.
Finish (22/25): Ginger soda and some unsweetened licorice. Oily still. Warmish, then cool - this is a whisky that certainly does confuse my sense of temperature. Eucalyptus and soft oaky notes on the finish.
Balance (21/25): A cool dram for a summer evening.
Littlemill 1991 21 YO Closed Distilleries, 55,2 %
The second dram in our glasses for this article is the Littlemill 1991 21 YO Closed Distilleries from independent bottler Cadenhead. This is a single cask release distilled in 1991, and bottled in October 2012. It was matured in a bourbon barrel, and the outturn was 192 bottles.
Nose (23/25): Delicious vanilla nose. Mild caramel sauce, deep and rich. Soft oaky and malty notes. Mild fruits and berries. The slightest hint of fresh herbs - lemongrass perhaps. Lots going on, but it is quite delicate, and hard to single out the individual notes beyond this. After a while I pick up a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and butter - think homemade cinnamon rolls that have yet to go into the oven. Delightful.
Taste (21/25): Rich and full-bodied. Caramel and apples. Herbal notes.
Finish (23/25): White pepper, ginger, and light minty notes - eucalyptus. Fizzy and peppy. There's a dance going on, quite fast at first, then ending in a sweet, slow and tight embrace.
Balance (23/25): What a perfectly lovely Littlemill - actually the best one I have had. It takes a while to really hit it off on the taste, but when it does it really does shine.
Image from Drink Finder.
Sláinte! - Thomas