Littlemill 1984-2004 (Scott’s Selection)

Littlemill, 1984
This is the last of the four Scott’s Selection bottles I purchased and split with four friends. None of the others have disappointed, though only the Highland Park has made me wish I’d bought an entire bottle. What will this Littlemill’s story be? The only other 1984 I’ve had from this distillery (and the only other Littlemill I’ve reviewed) was a rather odd one from Hart Bros. (and that was a 20 yo too). Let’s hope for the best.

Littlemill 1984-2004 (62.1%; Scott’s Selection; from a bottle split with friends)

Nose: Over-ripe, almost rotting melon (cantaloupe) with some honey and lime peel and white pepper. Some acetone and something a little sweaty too. Quite reminiscent of the Hart Bros. 1984 but without that one’s whiffs of gasoline. With time there’s a darker sweet note too–toffee maybe. The fruit is rather intense though and there might be some over-ripe banana in there too. With time the over-ripe melon note calms down a little and there’s some vanilla too now. With a few drops of water the fruit is in better balance with the vanilla and the lime peel (kaffir lime) is doing more talking now.

Palate: Remarkably drinkable at full strength with a soft, buttery texture and just about as fruity as on the nose. Not quite so intense with the over-ripe melon though, and there’s far more honey and vanilla here. Very nice. Gets sweeter as it goes though there’s always a limey counterpoint. With time more woody bitterness emerges but it’s nothing overbearing. Okay, let’s see what water does. Well, it ties everything together quite nicely, but there’s also a mild soapy note that emerges.

Finish: Long. The fruit eases into vanilla and brown butter and butterscotch with a little tingle of lime. Quite sweet. With time a little of that gasoline note emerges late. Water pushes the gasoline note back down but the wood seems to talk a little bit more. And later there’s that soap/glycerine.

Comments: Well, this was like the Hart Bros. 1984 with all the bad bits taken out. Quite nice but I could do with some sourer fruit and a little less wood. And while I think water is good for the nose I don’t think it’s good for the palate or finish–maybe I added too much? Would I want a full bottle of this? I’m not sure, but I do want to drink more of it. And I’m looking forward to opening my late ’80s, early ’90s Littlemills next year.

Rating: 87 points. (85 with water.)

11 thoughts on “Littlemill 1984-2004 (Scott’s Selection)

  1. Hi Mongo. I still see this on on shelves every now and again. I’ve always resisted due the the price (usually around $200) vs mixed reviews. I am more tempted based on your review. Would you spend the $200?

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  2. Mao, I’m really enjoying my share of this bottle! This brings to the table a bitterness that I have not encountered before, and a combination of sweet and savory that rivals Caol Ila in its integration. No aggressive peat here, of course – though there is some; nonetheless, there are serious medicinal notes, mostly bitters – Unterbeg? gentian? thyme and summer savory; liquorice, some iodine and sea kelp; stone fruit pit (cherry, peach), especially on the finish; all very well integrated. I wish I had a full bottle, or at least half. This really rocked my world! So thanks!

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  3. I had that 1977 Genlivet at Twisted Spoke. For what it’s worth spend your money elsewhere. Tasted like there was no cask interaction at all. But the price would be hard to pass up. I had trouble finding reviews for it but I guess you could flip it for more money.

    That Littlemill is surprisingly bourbony. Lots of vanilla and sugared sweetness. Reminds me a bit of that Auchroisk from Binny’s you recommended a while back. Musky fruit and limey citrus seem to be your thing. Also, Laphroaig.

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  4. Yeah, I’ve come to really like intensely fruity malts—do I sense correctly that you were not as enthusiastic about that Auchroisk as I am?

    But to your point about this Littlemill being bourbony—the fruitiness is quite distinct from that, right?

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  5. Went to Binnys and both Lakeview and Lincoln Park have Littlemill. Auchentoshan and Bunnahabhain were also spotted. No Glenlivet. Should be on the site.

    I think I first posted on your site about that Auchroisk. Great stuff! Yes, the bourbony part of the Littlemill is distinct from the tropical and citric fruitiness. Tons of vanilla and some acetone in the nose. They are similar in their fruitiness is all. Like that profile myself.

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