Littlemill 29, 1988 (OMC for K&L)

This Littlemill is one of the older casks in K&L’s 2019 run of exclusives. As a 29 yo from 1988 the latest it would have been bottled would have been in 2018—I guess it just took a while to get to California. It may also be the oldest Littlemill I have had from the large parcel of late 1980s/early 1990s casks of Littlemill that began appearing from independents in the first half of the last decade (see here and here, for example). Most of those have been very good, with a big dose of fruit balanced nicely with oak and malt, with none of the funkier notes that can sometimes overwhelm Littlemill. Let’s hope this one is in that vein as well.

Littlemill 29, 1988 (55.%; OMC for K&L; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)

Nose: A little spirity to start. After a few beats there’s a funky mix of malt, a light rubbery/plasticky note (a new beach ball) and lime peel. As it sits some sweeter fruity notes begin to emerge but don’t quite pop—some vanilla with them too. With more time there’s cereal and the fruit gets muskier. Less funky, more fruity with a few drops of water.

Palate: Leads with the citrus—much more expressive here—with the malt coming through as I swallow. Nice texture at full strength. On the second sip the fruit gets more tropical—tart mango, a bit of passionfruit—but it’s not over the top. The lime peel and some oaky zing form nice counterpoints to the sweeter, muskier fruit. With time some powdered ginger shows up as well and there’s a grassy note as well. With a few drops of water the fruit is more expressive; there’s some cocoa to go with and just the faintest hint of petrol.

Finish: Long. The fruit expands on the finish and it’s of the musky, mildly tropical variety. Maltier at the end as it goes. Fruitier here too with water but there’s a touch of glycerin at the very end.

Comments: The nose didn’t do very much for me—especially neat—but this is rather nice on the palate and finish. Not the most exuberantly fruity Littlemill I’ve had from this era—I suspect it stayed in the cask just a few years too long. I think this went for $250. That’s a plausible price for a whisky of this age from a closed distillery but I’m not sure this would be how I’d be looking to spend $250 if I had it lying around. Your mileage may vary (perhaps in proportion with your bank balance). I’d guess the K&L folk won’t get too exercised either way as this has long sold out.

Rating: 88 points. (Pulled up by water.)


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