Yet another very old Lowland malt distillery which literally went up in smoke, the only remnants of which are the fast disappearing official and independent bottlings made over the years, although Loch Lomond Group, which still owns the brand, brings out the occasional expression to keep interest in Littlemill alive.
When I visited Littlemill, distilling had not long ceased, the last run being on 14 March, 1985. As I recorded, “the distillery dates from 1772, and this is clearly proclaimed on a plaque over the distillery manager’s office”. Despite its longevity, Littlemill did not enjoy much stability to go with its years of existence and sustained a bewildering succession of owners. Like a number of other Lowland malt distilleries, it practised triple distillation but this changed in 1931 when a new owner replaced the traditional set up with hybrid pot/rectifier stills. They were traditional pot stills but topped with rectifier columns such as one would expect to find in a grain whisky distillery. I commented that “the result is a somewhat ungainly structure, this stills having very high, thick necks and the warmth of the copper hidden largely by the cladding”.
Littlemill for a period produced three different expressions: Littlemill itself, a lightly-peated variant, Dunglass, and a heavily-peated one, Dumbuck. Most of the latter two were used in blending.
Littlemill was, in 1996, finally closed down completely and soon after it had been sold to a developer in 2004, it caught fire leaving no trace of what had once been one of Scotland’s most innovative distilling enterprises.