Google Six Littlemill Plus Aperitif

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

March 7, 2020





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Six Littlemill Plus Aperitif
Things have gone pretty quiet on the Littlemill front. Remember there was a big parcel of casks that got consumed in an indy bottler feeding frenzy a few years ago? Every so often a cask from those parcels still drops out of the bonded ether, but things have moved on, via a large bundle of similarly exotic old Irish single malts, and now by way of a totally stellar parcel of 1996 Ben Nevis.


It seems like the next big parcel may well be 2000 ‘unnameable’ Clynelish, but the fullness of time will tell. For now, let’s revisit some of those lovely Littlemill from not so long ago and see if we can spot some tropical fruits amongst the grass. But first, a wee aperitif that I’m told may well be Littlemill, or ‘mostly’ Littlemill.



Lord Waterloo 8 yo ‘pure malt’ (40%, -/+ 1992)

Lord Waterloo 8 yo ‘pure malt’ (40%, -/+ 1992)
Not huge expectations here I have to admit. Colour: gold. Nose: pure old ‘pure’ malt, so to speak. Bags of plain cereals, porridge, mashed potato, grass, paper mâché, white mushrooms and some more unusual whiffs of ink and metal polish. A very old fashioned style of whisky, although not necessarily ‘old style’. It’s also perfectly harmless and rather easy. Mouth: impressive all things considered. More polish, cereals, ink, canvass, grass, green herbs, milky tea and hints of oily rags and vase water. Totally simple and a tad flabby towards the end but otherwise fine. Finish: medium, slightly oily, grassy, orangey and with things like digestive biscuit and porridge. Comments: things could have been much worse. The grassy aspect could well be some mid-80s Littlemill at work. Although, I’m not really sure you’d distinguish this too much from literally dozens of other cheap vatted malt brands which were rather ubiquitous in the 80s and 90s.
SGP: 431 - 74 points.



Note from the editor: Waterloo? But that'll teach you, mon cher!



Littlemill 21 yo 1991/2012 (48.9%, Exclusive Malts, cask #557, refill hogshead, 275 bottles)

Littlemill 21 yo 1991/2012 (48.9%, Exclusive Malts, cask #557, refill hogshead, 275 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: it’s a grassy one. A style that I think of as more classically ‘Littlemill’ than these fruitier ones. Trampled ferns, grass, parsley, crushed cactus, grave, concrete and aspirin. Unusual and nodding towards very old style pure pot still Irish Whiskey in some ways – not unlike the way the more exuberant Littlemills of this era are often reminiscent of the more tropical Bushmills from similar vintages. Anyway, this one goes on with cooked cereals, mashed potato and rapeseed oil. It’s a very particular and singular style I would say and this is a pretty good, vivid and clean example of that style. Mouth: same profile but there’s more of these cooked grains, buttered brown toast and a touch of cardboard. Some bitter lemon, quinine, limoncello with soda water and vitamin tablets. Not quite austere but a rather singular and perhaps difficult style. Finish: medium, very cereal, mashy, lightly vegetal and drying with some peppery notes. Comments: Blind you could really say some funny old Irish Whiskey. I find this fascinating and intellectually very fun, but it’s a rather demanding style.
SGP: 431 – 83 points.



Littlemill 20yo 1990/2010 (56.2%, Exclusive Malts ‘First Cask’, cask #726, barrel, 225 bottles)

Littlemill 20yo 1990/2010 (56.2%, Exclusive Malts ‘First Cask’, cask #726, barrel, 225 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: between two styles. Grassy and lean but also more citrussy and more mineral. Notes of green apple, tart gooseberry and a slightly bright acidity – could almost be some kind of pure and razor-sharp Loire sauvignon. With water: lemon zest, fizzy orange water, hyper-clean cereals and butter muddled with freshly chopped green herbs. Mouth: lime, chalk, mineral oil, caraway and some light barley sugars. Cereals, sunflower oil and lemon bonbons. Just the lightest touches of sweetness keeping things fresh. Otherwise this is pure, dry, pin sharp and rather beautifully chiselled Lowland whisky. With water: more playful, more buoyantly fruity and more vibrant. Swims exceptionally well! Finish: good length, rather a lot of toasted seeds, trail mix and more toasty and grassy cereals. Comments: things get a little easier here and the overall profile is more balanced and complex, and water is pretty essential here. Although, this is still a rather challenging style if you ask me.
SGP: 441 – 85 points.



Littlemill 23 yo 1990/2014 (55.2%, Creative Whisky Company ‘Tony Koehl’ series, cask #36, 176 bottles)

Littlemill 23 yo 1990/2014 (55.2%, Creative Whisky Company ‘Tony Koehl’ series, cask #36, 176 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: again this cereal and grassy style (getting a tad tiring I must confess) but here it feels more buttery and altogether richer and fuller. Lots of cooking oils, some camphor, some oily rags, bicycle chains – indeed the whole is getting a tad more ‘mechanical’. Toasted cereals, mash water and crushed oatcakes. With water: lovely! We’re starting to get more richness, more fresh breads and pastries, more yeasty qualities and a generally more ‘autolytic’ profile. Sunflower oil and touches of white mushroom and mulchy earth. Good complexity! Mouth: grassy, citrussy, cereal, oily and nicely fat in terms of texture and mouthfeel. Some tea tree oils, eucalyptus notes and light menthol tobacco suggestions. Very good! With water: more oils, grass, cereals and freshly chopped herbs, but also some cough medicine, herbal teas, miso, bracken, oatcakes and plain porridge. Finish: long, oily, some rye bread spice, lightly earthy, sooty, mineral and things like boot polish, white pepper and watercress. Comments: It seems like this particular style of Littlemill generally benefits a lot from a little water. The added richness of this one really helps to balance the more ‘grumpy’ aspects of this grassy and oily profile.
SGP: 451 – 87 points.



Littlemill 25 yo 1988/2014 (51.9%, Exclusive Malts, cask #439, 172 bottles)

Littlemill 25 yo 1988/2014 (51.9%, Exclusive Malts, cask #439, 172 bottles)
Colour: deep gold. Nose: amazing the difference in style. This is far more open, opulent and generously fruity. More immediate, luscious and rich. Bread pudding, sultanas, leaf mulch, dried exotic fruits, malt extract and dried wildflowers. Excellent! With water: some very fresh bready and cereal tones. Rapeseed oil, metal polish, meadow flowers and toasted pistachios. Mouth: beautifully poised, balanced and full of nervous, resinous sherry, earthy spices, plum sauce, red fruit jams and hints of olive oil cake, camphor and lime cordial. Really superb, the sherry adds a beautifully intricate layer of flavour while integrating perfectly with the distillate. With water: cola syrup, raspberry jam, boozy fruit cake, banana liqueur, herbal teas – generally richer, sweeter and more of these gooey textural qualities. Finish: long, bready, spicy, rich, darkly fruity and showing a very slight meaty quality. Comments: Really excellent Littlemill, amazing how different this is to the 1990s vintages. Rich, complex, beautifully balanced and continually evolving. Hugely enjoyable whisky that manages to be both challenging and highly pleasurable at the same time.
SGP: 651 – 91 points.



Littlemill 24 yo 1988/2012 (54.2%, The Whiskyman, 159 bottles)

Littlemill 24 yo 1988/2012 (54.2%, The Whiskyman, 159 bottles)
Colour: pale gold. Nose: this is a funny mix of styles. The grassiness and the exotic fruits collide in a way which, given blind, you would almost say was grappa. Grassy waxes, coins, metal polish, steel wool, a rather polished cereal core and wee flashes of banana, mango, kiwi and lime. There’s also some rather gentle herbal tones in the background too. Very lovely! With water: still showing this wonderfully nervous and direct grassy quality but also sherbet lemons, chalk, lime pith and bags of ripe grapefruit. Mouth: superbly fruity and luscious on arrival.  Big, fat, syrupy and swollen fruitiness (pretty sure I could easily convert many of my tasting notes to erotic literature), close to the Exclusive Malts 1988 but without the sherry, instead you get this total focus on fruits and sweetness - which is very beautiful. More grappa, orange bitters, orange juice, kumquat, bitter marmalade - quite a lot of orange coloured flavours all of a sudden. With water: develops wonderfully with wee threads of honey, crystallised exotic and citrus fruits, mead and thicker notes of camphor and hessian. Finish: long, lemony, exotic, rather oily and returning full circle to some pretty taut and punchy grassy notes. Comments: Another side of the same coin. 1988 seems to be the vintage for Littlemill. What a terrific selection, we miss you Dominiek!
SGP: 741 - 91 points.



Littlemill 25 yo 1988/2014 (54.9%, Exclusive Malts for K&L Wines, cask #8, 298 bottles)

Littlemill 25 yo 1988/2014 (54.9%, Exclusive Malts for K&L Wines, cask #8, 298 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: we’re back in sauvignon-esque territories with these clear notes of gooseberry, fabric softener, cider apple, fresh cereals, milled oats, porridge with honey, lemon barley water and some rather chalky and jumbled mineral notes. Pebbles, gravel, flints and ink. However, the overall character is more generous and opulent that those rather extremely 1990s vintages. This is easier and falls just the right side of fruity. Although, it’s by no means a fruit bomb. With water: gets much drier and far more cereal. Lots of crushed oatcakes, canvass, aspirin, chalk, sandalwood, snapped twigs and ‘warm greenhouse’. Mouth: nicely honeyed and syrupy at first. Barley sugars, malt extract, butter biscuits, shortbread, fresh croissant, fruity muesli and freshly chopped herbs. Still quite a few notes of sunflower and rapeseed oil – a kind of halfway house between the fruity and grassy styles of Littlemill. With water: again, leaner, drier, simpler and more cereal. Although, it remains nicely oily in texture and with a pleasing bready quality. Finish: long, lightly honeyed, very bready, biscuity and with rather a lot of oatmeal, plain flapjack and pithy citrus peel. Comments: it’s another slightly austere one, but there’s just enough fruity and bready balance to provide sufficiently pleasurable counterpoint to those more ‘intellectual’ aspects.
SGP: 451 – 88 points.



Many thanks to David, Serge and Dirk.










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