Littlemill is considered the oldest distillery in Scotland, with 1772 the official date of establishment. It used some of the most oddly shaped stills, which had rectifying columns on the necks like those used for grain whisky distillation. This—I assume—creates an interesting and very different flavor profile from that of other single malts. I decided to try a dram because my chances are running out; the distillery is mothballed, and official releases are becoming increasingly difficult to locate.
Indeed, the Littlemill 12 Year Whisky that I managed to acquire has an unusual profile. It seems to lack some of the aspects that I associate with Lowland whiskies, although it makes up for it with other elements. It was not overwhelmingly complex, but we are talking about a very young whisky.
This is a great whisky to try simply out of curiosity. After all, I tend to be curious about the effects of different production elements (in this case, the shape of the stills) and tasting seems to be the only way of truly experiencing them. The Littlemill 12 Year has a few notable flaws, but it is pleasant and interesting. If you want to try it, you should hurry. The distillery burned down in the nineties, so the chances of any more hitting the market are slim to nil.
Nose: 18/25. The nose is a little acidic, with the smell of unripened grain and some sweetness as well. A little bit of herbs and citrus zest added to the acidity, but also gave the dram a little depth. There was an undertone of sulfur that I found rather unpleasant. Overall, it has a light and refreshing nose if you can get past the sulfur.
Palate: 17/25. The first thing I noticed was not the taste, but the body. It is full and very pleasant, almost swelling to fill your mouth. There is sweet, toasted grain with a little bit of caramel and even some nuttiness for depth. I detected a little bit of a rubbery taste that did not meld well with the other flavors. In all, the taste is good (not great) and full bodied, but not as complex as I prefer.
Finish: 20/25. The finish is where the Littlemill 12 really shines. It is long, sweet and herbal, with a great blend of flavors. Although the finish is smooth, there is a lot of peppery heat. It ends with a bang. I thought the whisky was worth the expense simply for this finish—it is that awesome.
Character: 19/25. The Littlemill 12 Year simply is not as complex as I prefer. In addition, while this single malt has a lot of pleasant flavors and smells, it comes with a few noticeable flaws as well. If you can get past the flaws, you will find this a very enjoyable tasting experience. If not, at least you have tried a little bit of this historic distillery’s products. Enjoy your bragging rights even if you did not enjoy your dram.
Overall Rating for Littlemill 12 Year Whisky: 74/100.