Littlemill 22, 1989 (Archives)

After my review of the old, unlamented official Littlemill 12, I’d lined up reviews of a number of more recently released older, indie Littlemills from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Somehow, I never got around to posting any of them. Here’s the first one.

This was released by Whiskybase as part of the inaugural release of their Archives line. As you may know, Menno B. of Whiskybase is a renowned Littlemill collector, and all the Littlemills released by Archives have very good reputations. Unlike the other Littlemills of this era that I’ve reviewed—see this 20, 1990 from the Nectar and this 24, 1989 from the Whisky Agency—this is from a refill sherry hogshead. I opened this a while ago and liked it so much that it disappeared in just a few months—that might seem like a long time but I usually have bottles stay open for at least a year. Here now are my notes. 

Littlemill 22, 1989 (48.3%; Archives, Inaugural Release; refill sherry hogshead, cask #RTN-11-238; from my own bottle)

Nose: Pine, orange peel, old coins, cherry, rosewood. The fruit gets more fermented/musky as it sits with lychee joining the orange peel. Stickier with a few drops of water and there’s some pencil lead/graphite too now.

Palate: Leads with the wood and then everything else from the nose arrives behind it; a bit of papaya here as well. The wood returns as I swallow (but it’s not out of balance). The mouthfeel is a bit thin (but the bottle has been open for a while). The citrus gets brighter as it sits and it gets more herbal on the whole: not fresh herbs so much as an infusion of dried herbs (oregano, rosemary) in a very minerally and peppery olive oil that’s then mixed with a bit of old balsamic. (Th fruit is still here too.) Okay, time for a bit of water. Water pushes the oak back and brings out more of the brighter citrus and lychee; texture is richer too now.

Finish: Medium-long. The fruit expands here (the same orange peel, papaya, lychee, red fruit combo) and the oak frames it nicely. With more time the oak is just a bit too loud and a bit too bitter. As on the palate with water.

Comments:This is very nice indeed, and a world away from the OB Littlemill 12. It’s not quite the full-on fruit explosion I was hoping for but it’s very good indeed, and quite old-school in a way. I liked it better with a touch of water. Okay, more older Littlemill next month

Rating: 89 points.

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