Lost distillery gives fans chance to buy 'last precious drops' with new limited edition whisky

Whisky fans are set to be given a rare opportunity to acquire a single malt from a silent distillery thought to be one of the oldest in Scotland.

Published 1st Aug 2017
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The company behind Littlemill, a lowland distillery which produced its last whisky in 1994, have just released their 2017 Private Cellar Edition – a new limited edition whisky "celebrating the last precious drops of single malt" from this once famous distillery.

Rumoured to be one of the oldest in Scotland, and possibly even the world, the Littlemill distillery has a long and fascinating history.

Officially established and producing whisky legally from 1772 in Bowling on the banks of the River Clyde near Glasgow, the distillery fell silent in 1994, with the site subsequently destroyed by fire in 2004, never to produce any spirit again.

As a result there is now a very limited amount of Littlemill single malt left and the spirit of the distillery lives on in a series of rare bottlings.

Priced at £2,250,  the Littlemill 2017 Private Cellar Edition is the second in the series celebrating this rare whisky, with the brand saying it offers whisky fans and collectors the opportunity to "acquire a piece of Lowland Scotch whisky history".

This latest release will comprise of just 500 individually numbered limited edition bottles filled with 27 Year Old whisky from the lost lowland distillery.


The new expression will come with its own presentation case. Picture: Loch Lomond Group

Each of the bottlings will come with a case which features a unique piece of the Littlemill cask used to mature this rarest of malts, as well as a miniature of the whisky itself.

The distillery'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 its 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.

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These innovative stills provided the inspiration for the Loch Lomond Distillery, which was opened in the 1960s.

To create the edition, master blender, Michael Henry selected eight casks from 1990 to pay homage to the Littlemill distillery character; creating what he describes as "a lighter, floral spirit, reminiscent of the triple distillation of the Duncan Thomas era".


Picture: Loch Lomond Group

"A sip of Littlemill 2017 Private Cellar Edition is more than just a memorable pleasure; it is a unique and historic experience and the spirit of the distillery and its innovative stills live on at the Loch Lomond Distillery today.”

Crafted from casks with the strongest floral character and subtle wood notes from distillations between 11th and 19th May 1990.

The casks were filled at 68.8% strength, allowing them to retain more of the distillery character throughout the maturation in refill bourbon barrels. Ageing in refill bourbon barrels gave a softer wood influence and once selected the casks were married in fresh bourbon barrels for 12 months before bottling.

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

Available to buy at most independent specialists including The Whisky Shop, The Whisky Exchange, Royal Mile Whiskies and Master of Malt, the rare bottling will also be available in global markets, including Taiwan, France, Germany and Travel Retail.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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