Whisky Focus - Littlemill 40 Year Old Celestial Edition Review

Littlemill 40 Year Old Celestial Edition

5th February 2019
Littlemill 40 year old the oldest whisky ever released from the now closed distillery.

Littlemill 40 Year Old Celestial Edition

Loch Lomond Group has launched the Littlemill 40 Year Old Celestial Edition in the UK, the oldest expression ever to be released from the now lost Littlemill distillery.

The Littlemill 40 Year Old Celestial Edition was distilled on 10th October 1977 and matured in a combination of refill American oak casks, first-fill ex-Bourbon casks and first-fill ex-Oloroso Sherry casks. it has been bottled at 46% ABV and is a limited release of only 250 bottles with a retail price of £6,000.

Released to celebrate the life’s work of Littlemill owner Duncan Thomas. The spirit represents the culmination of his knowledge and experience and captures the spirit of his pioneering distilling process.

Presented in a stunning box which depicts an exact map of the night sky seen above Littlemill Distillery on the evening that the liquid was barrelled. The whisky is housed in a hand-faceted Glencairn Crystal decanter, each engraved with its unique bottle number and the decanter is finished with a solid brass stopper made in Glasgow. Each box also contains a 5cl vial of the 40 Year Old liquid, for those who would like to sample the whisky while keeping the bottle intact.

Duncan Thomas was a true pioneer of Scotch Whisky, pushing boundaries and introducing innovation that would long outlive him. One of his more lasting legacies was the introduction of the straight necked pot still with rectifying heads, that made it possible to create variations on each spirit he produced, allowing him to retain control of the character of the final liquid. This philosophy was embraced by Japanese distilleries in the East, and to mark this, the 40 Year Old box shows the star chart on the night that the spirit was laid to rest, charting the two paths of Duncan Thomas and Japanese Whisky experimentation.

Michael Henry, Master Blender at Loch Lomond Group, said: "The Littlemill 40 year old Celestial Edition is a fitting way to celebrate the legacy left by Duncan Thomas, and the truly exceptional liquid is worthy of his name."

Littlemill’s rich history includes a number of owners over its lifetime and it was notably one of the first distilleries to have a female licensee, Jane MacGregor, in 1823. In the 1930s, the distillery was known for triple distillation before moving to the more traditional double distillation now associated with Scotch whisky.

In 1931, under the stewardship of the American Duncan Thomas, Littlemill was at the forefront of still innovation with technical designs that could create three styles of single malts from full-bodied to light. These innovative stills provided the inspiration for the Loch Lomond Distillery, which was opened in the 1960s.

Rare amongst the Lowland malts in using a Highland water source, as well as peat from Stornoway and Perthshire, Littlemill whiskies are renowned for a subtly floral, vanilla-rich sweetness.

Littlemill 40 Year Old Celestial Edition is available to buy from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt and The Whisky Shop

Littlemill 40 Year Old Review

Producer's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Floral bursts of honeysuckle and elderflower, early summer hedgerow, with delicate honey sweetness and elegant oak spice of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Taste: Opens with mouth-watering fruits, crisp green apple and fresh pineapple with grapefruit and lime citrus then richer dried fruits of sultana and raisins before vanilla toffee gives sweetness to the mid-palate.

Finish: Long with layers of fruit and spice. Green fruits continue into the finish with gooseberry and kiwi before waves of warming cinnamon and clove spice.

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