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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Littlemill  Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Lowland Distillery 1772-1994.

Littlemill Distillery History

Located on the north bank of the Clyde at Bowling The Littlemill Distillery was officially established in 1772 on the site of a 14th century brewery It is quite possibly the oldest Lowland distillery with roots going back to 1750. When George Buchan, a Glasgow maltmaster purchased the estate of Littlemill,

 

The official founding date of 1772 has possibly been used as this was when houses for the excise officers had to be provided, thus maybe marking the official beginning of  the distilleries history.

 

Littlemill has seen many un-documented owners in its long 200-year history. So the distillery has been quite difficult to give names details and dates.

 

Closed in 1813, five years later Matthew Clark & Co. bought the distillery, followed by Peter McGregor in 1821.

 

1823 saw the commencement of the Excise Act, and the first licensee for Littlemill was Jane MacGregor, who is said to have been one of the earliest women distillers in Scotland. She retained Littlemill until 1839,

 

The next owners were - in order:

Duncan McCullouch (until 1846),

McCullouch & McAlpine (1846-1847),

John MacAlpine, Harvey & Co. (1852),

William Hunter and John E. Sharpe (1853),

William Hunter (1854-1857),

William Hay & Co. (1857-1867),

William Hay Jr. (1869)

William Hay, Fairman & Co. (date unknown-1874).

 

There is a building date for 1800 and a rebuild date for 1875 carried out by a Mr Hay, however no details are available.

 

Output at the time of Alfred Barnard’s visit was 150,000 gallons and the proprietor was Wm. Hay Fairham & Co.

 

1913 saw Yoker Distillery Co Ltd. Become owners, followed by Littlemill Distillery Co Ltd in 1918

 

Charles Mackinlay & Co and J G Thomson & Co Ltd  1923 to 1927.

 

Until the 1930's the traditional triple distillation technique of the Lowlands was used, they switched to double distillation when Duncan G. Thomas, an American citizen, took over in 1931 forming the Littlemill Distillery Co. Ltd.

 

He also clad the copper pot stills in aluminium and fitted rectifying columns instead of the customary swan-necks that are on pot-stills. This combined pot- and column-still elements; Thomas was trying to produce a hybrid spirit that would age faster

 

At some point in 1959 Barton Brands Inc, of Chicago became shareholders in the company eventually buying out D.G Thomas in 1971.They became Barton Distilling (Scotland) Ltd.

 

Littlemill was closed in 1984. Following a management buy out in 1988 forming Gibson International. The distillery was modernised and reopened in 1989.

 

During 1994 the distillery was closed as Gibson International went into receivership. Glen Catrine Bonded Warehouses acquired the distillery. The distillery was managed by the sister company, Loch Lomond Distillery Co Ltd.

 

The distillery remained silent. However, there were plans to re-build Littlemill into a tourist attraction with new houses and luxury flats as well as projects to turn the distillery into a museum. These ideas were finally abandoned and in 1996 the equipment was dismantled

 

Finally on 4th September 2004 the main buildings were destroyed by fire..

 

There is mention of two whiskies produced from experimental set ups, during the late 1960s using the rectifying heads on the stills to produce variable malt spirit for blending These were called Dumbuck (heavily peated) and Dunglass (unpeated). The experiments didn’t operate for very long.

 

Littlemill Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery Bottlings

Littlemill 12 Year Old

 

Littlemill Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Older Distillery Bottlings

Littlemill 8 Year Old

Littlemill 17 Year Old

Littlemill 32 Year (1964 Vintage)

 

Littlemill 21 year old Single Malt Whisky 46%

A rare Limited Edition of only 3000 bottles from the closed and demolished Lowland Distillery of Littlemill.  Tasting Note:

 

Colour: liquid gold

 

Body: Concentrated with great intensity. Very impressive textured mouth feel experience.

 

Nose: Floral and fruity

 

Palate: layer and layer of lemon, melon, pear, grapefruit, lychee, ginger, and honey with an unforgettable hint of mint.  An incredibly sophisticated and elegant whisky from the oldest scotch whisky distillery still releasing whisky. Perfect for whisky connoisseurs and collectors.

 

Finish: Very smooth with a rich vanilla, Scottish butter toffee table fudge and macadamia nut cream finish 

Littlemill Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Independent Bottlings  

Berry’s Own Selection

Cadenhead,

Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon & MacPhail)

Dun Bheagan (Ian McLeod),

Murray McDavid

Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Platinum Selection (Douglas Laing)  

Private Cellars (Speyside Distillers)

Scotts Selection (Speyside Distillers)

SMWS

Whisky Galore (Duncan Taylor)

 

Littlemill 1985 Rare old Single Malt Scotch Whisky 46%

Distilled in 1985 and bottled in 2013 by Gordon & MacPhail.

Lot  RO/13/02    Limited to only 260 bottles.

Tasting Notes;

Sweet with peach and apricot aromas initially.

The palette has cracked black pepper with sweet fruit elements, peach and ripe bananas.These are complimented by a creamy butterscotch edge.

 

Littlemill Single Malt Scotch Whisky 19 year old 55.4% 

Douglas Laing's Old & Rare Platinum Selection.

Bottled at Natural Cask strength in March 2009 and distilled in March 1990.

One of only 333 bottles in total from the single cask.

 

Littlemill Single Malt Scotch Whisky Tasting Notes;-

 

Full of character for a 19 year old, this Littlemill on the nose carries orange pith, cedar wood, barley, vanilla and molasses!

 

On the palette expect old fashioned “sweetie Shoppe” combination of strawberry chews, caramel, plus sugary butter and some real sweet malty gristiness, - all of which are rounded off on the finish by more orange character and some light smoke which all tails into an attractive soft subtle spiciness. (F)

Littlemill Distillery

126 Dumbarton Road, Bowling,

West Dunbartonshire, G60 5 BG

Now Demolished

Littlemill Lowland Region Scotch Whisky

Littlemill Scotch Whisky

Distillery Style Tasting Notes

 

Nose:  Fresh, spicy and malty.

 

Palate: Light bodied. Sweet and spicy.

 

Finish: Light and delicate.

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Established officially in 1772

Location Lowlands

Water source Kilpatrick Hill springs

Last Owners Loch Lomond Distillery Co Ltd

Distillery now demolished

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