Littlemill 22 (Cadenhead Small Batch)

caol_il_29Distillery: Littlemill
Bottled: 2014, Distilled: 1992
ABV: 53.7%
Cask: Bourbon
Bottler: WM Cadenhead
More Info: WhiskyBase

Yet another interesting bottle from Cadenhead’s! This has been on the shelf a while now but it felt like time to crack it open.

Nose: Waxy with sweet sawdust and wood resin, basil in butter, citrus flowers, icing sugar, and squeezed clementines.

Palate: Oily. Very oily. Fruit and spice – baked apple, elderflower, fresh bilberries leading to cloves and black pepper.

Finish: Long with a warming cinnamon burn and creamy oak.

Big! Fruity and spicy, but without a hint of sherry. Really very moreish and pleasant.

Millburn 1969 (Rare Malts)

Distillery: Millburn
Bottled: 2005, Distilled: 1969
Age: 35 years old
Series: Diageo Rare Malts
ABV: 51.2%
More Info: WhiskyBase

Millburn, you say? Never heard of it. Yeah, I hadn’t either.

There’s some extremely well-known whiskies from closed distilleries. Everyone knows Port Ellen, Rosebank, Brora etc. So why isn’t Millburn regularly counted alongside them?

I suspect the reason  is simply because there’s very little of it around left to sell. No annual Special Release bottlings for this old distillery to generate the hype. In many ways, for me, that makes it even more intriguing.

So what do we know about Millburn?

The Distillery

It started life in 1807 as “The Inverness Distillery” and had various owners through the years. For a while it was used purely as a mill, before being turned back into a distillery again in 1876. It kept running on and off through the 20th century until it became another casualty of the eighties slump in whisky demand.

The distillery was closed in 1985 and eventually dismantled in 1988. It’s not clear how much stock Diageo still have, if any, but nothing has appeared since this 2005 Rare Malts release.

A sad story, for sure. I dare say the best way to honour a closed distillery is to taste what it had to offer. You don’t often get chance to taste 35-year-old whisky, much less any whisky from the sixties. If you think about it, it’s probably the closest you can get to time travelling…

Tasting Notes

Nose: Fruity, perfumed and elegant. Ripe (maybe even mouldy, but in a good way) fruit. Nectarines and peaches with wet rose petals, rolling tobacco, wax jacket, and sweet resin. Lots of bakery notes, too – wedding cake, lemon tart, treacle toffee, and home-made strawberry jam. A little dusty, ashy, cigarette smoke too.

Palate: Fizzy peaches with orange, limes, and grapefruit marmalade. It’s very clean and refreshing. Spices come through the fruit – cloves, black pepper, aniseed, liquorice root. Some mellow toasted oak around the edges.

Finish: Herbal peppermint tea with a slight chalky mineral quality. More lingering oakiness with just a touch of black pepper.

Scene: You’re in a wedding marquee after the ceremony. It’s raining, but everybody’s in good spirits. You’ve finished the main course and dessert’s being served. There’s fresh fruit and flowers on the table. Contented, you’re tucking into a slice of wedding cake and enjoying another glass of bubbly while a friend hand-rolls a cigarette beside you.


Wow, it’s bursting with fruit on the nose and the palate! The 35 years in the cask hasn’t dulled the distillate, or made it overpoweringly woody. That fizzing edge to it makes the fruit very zesty and pleasant on the tongue.

This is absolutely lovely – the longer I nose it, the more character comes through. If I had a bottle of this, I’d share it with friends and family on a very special occasion.

Seize the chance to try this.

You can pick up bottles of this Millburn on auction sites and on the WhiskyBase marketplace. You can try a sample from €39.50.