The Whiskyphiles

Whiskyphile, noun [C] specialized / ˈwɪɪl / a disciplined devotion to whisky. Established 2013.


Littlemill Distillery

Region: Lowland, Scotland.

Founded: 1772

Status: Demolished

Owner: Loch Lomond Group

Water source: Kilpatrick springs

Stills: 3x

Littlemill distillery was a Scottish malt whisky distillery in Bowling, West Dunbartonshire. Situated on the border of Lowlands and Highlands, its products were generally classified as lowlands whisky.


The year when whisky was first produced is uncertain. Littlemill was described as part of the purchase of Auchentorlie Estate in the 1750s. In 1772 houses had been constructed for excise officers, which is also the year Littlemill claimed as its foundation year, from which it claimed to be the oldest distillery in Scotland.

The distillery changed ownership to Matthew Clark & Co in 1817. After the Customs and Excise Act 1823 had passed, which allowed the distilling of whisky at much lower licence costs, Jane Macgregor became the licensee of Littlemill. Around 1840 ownership went to Hector Henderson, who was also shareholder in the Campbelltown distillery in 1837 and founded the Caol Ila distillery. The distillery was rebuilt and expanded in 1875 by Hay, who then was the owner.

Littlemill closed in 1929 until it was bought and reopened by Duncan Thomas in 1931, who experimented at the distillery with different new techniques. He used a new design of a Saladin box for malting with two ventilation towers and a single kiln. The copper pot stills were aluminium coated, and used rectifying columns instead of swan necks to have greater control over the distillation process, and production switched from a triple distillation to a double distillation technique.

In 1971 the distillery changed hands to Barton Distilling, who had been a shareholder since 1959. Barton was bought by Amalgamated Distilled Products in 1982, which joined the Argyll Group in 1984. In this year the Littlemill distillery closed. It was reopened and bought by Gibson International in 1989, closed down again in 1994 after Gibson International went bankrupt, and was sold to Loch Lomond Distillery. It was dismantled in 1997, and the remnants of the distillery were destroyed in a fire in 2004. A housing development is now on the site.

The distillery produced three different kinds of whisky[when?], which was made possible through the rectifying columns on the stills: a heavily peated variety under the name “Dumbuck”, a full bodied whisky named “Dunglas” and a light traditional lowland whisky under its own name “Littlemill”. Dumbuck and Dunglas were discontinued in 1972.

Littlemill whisky reviews:

  • Littlemill 22 Years Old 1992 Small Batch ~ 53.7% (Cadenhead’s) - Littlemill 22 Years Old 1992 Cadenhead Small Batch 53.7% ABV, £93.90 for 70cl Score: 85/100 What they say: Founded around 1750 it was one of the oldest established distilleries in Scotland until it was closed in 1994 its now sadly a demolished distillery after it was dismantled in 1997 then what was left was destroyed by […]
  • Littlemill 23 Years Old 1991 Cask#112 ~ 52.9% (Pearls of Scotland) - Littlemill 23 Years Old 1991 Cask#112 ~ 52.9% (Pearls of Scotland) 52.9% ABV, sold out but expect ~£125-£150+ Score: 85/100 What they say: Littlemill 23 Year Old 1991 Pearls of Scotland Single Malt Scotch 52.9% ABV. Lowland whisky from Scotland, Gordon & Co. bottling Single cask #112. Distilled January 1991, Bottled June 2014. What I […]
  • Littlemill_27_1985_CC Littlemill 27 Year Old 1985 – The Coopers Choice ~ 46% (The Vintage Malt Whisky Company) - Littlemill 27 Year Old 1985 – The Coopers Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Company) 46% ABV, £85 for 70cl Score: 89/100 What they say: This was distilled at Littlemill in 1985 before a 27 year maturation in a single cask (number 110). It was bottled in 2012 for the Vintage Malt Whisky Company’s Coopers Choice […]
  • littlemill-28-year-old-1985-robert-graham Littlemill 28 Years Old 1985 Treasurer’s Selection ~ 50.5% (Robert Graham) - Whisky Review: Littlemill 28 Years Old 1985 Treasurer’s Selection Category: Lowland single malt scotch whisky Origin: Littlemill Distillery [closed] Bottling: Robert Graham; Treasurer’s Selection ABV: 50.5% Cost: £250 from Robert Graham What they say: Distilled: 1985 Bottled: Feb 2013 Release of: 230 bottles Cask no: 99 Tasting Notes Nose – Gingerbread, marmalade, banana, red apple; thick […]
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