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In the pantheon of closed distilleries, Littlemill definitely falls short of top-tier status. Collectors see names like Port Ellen or Brora and they get excited, even reverent about the possiblity of tasting Scotch whisky royalty. Littlemill, however, has never seen its reputation balloon in the new age of romanticism. It's maintained a more working class status, while other lost distillery bottles continue to double and triple in price.
This is fitting, however, when you visit the site where the distillery once stood. The hamlet of Bowling, where Littlemill once operated, has built affordable housing on the ghostly grounds. A bit of ruins still remain, but there's nothing left to let you know of their importance other than a street sign that reads "Littlemill Place." You would drive right by it without noticing if you weren't looking for it, which is exactly the case with this 25 year old cask of Littlemill whisky. If you weren't looking for delicacy and subtle nuance, you could drink this single malt down quickly and think it was cask strength Jameson.
But the drinker who appreciates the pure malt flavors on the palate, the little hint of vanilla on the back, and the burst of richness that tickles the finish, will understand its merit. Littlemill will never be recognized like Port Ellen because its flavors and attributes aren't obvious.This cask is a last gasp at greatness from a name soon to be forgotten; a good-bye gift to whisky lovers who long for the past.
We've got less than 300 total bottles from this cask that, to us, is a diamond in the rough. It's not for those looking for big richness or powerful flavor, however; this whisky is of a dying style from a distillery already long dead.
Astrid Hubert has taken over her family's apple distillation business with a desire to bring Calvados into the modern generation. She wants to make her estate's brandy more fruit-forward and more feminine in style -- "After all, I am a woman!" she told us during our visit in 2013. It took us a year to come up with a marriage of casks we thought worked, but the wait was worth it: for $29.99 there has never been an apple brandy this good on the American market.
The juicy apple flavor simply bursts on the first sip, the fruit taking front and center stage as the cider-like acidity helps balance out the richness of the wood. Try making a Jack Rose cocktail with this! Considering the cost of most Calvados (even those without the quality of the Hubert) this is the type of spirit you buy two or three bottles of, rather than just one. Our problem won't be convincing people to buy it, it will be getting enough of it across the Atlantic to satisfy demand.
Look at Astrid! Look at how jovial and down-to-earth she is. This is the type of person we love buying spirits from.