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Could Littlemill whisky be the oldest dram of them all?

Littlemill dram
Littlemill dram

THE Littlemill distillery, which once stood proudly in Bowling, in West Dunbartonshire, has a rich and interesting history.

Built on the site of an old brewery that was founded during the 14th Century, there are rumours of illicit distilling taking place there since before the official opening date of 1772.

Some say it started in 1750 when the site was bought by malt master George Buchan.

But renowned whisky historian and writer, Misako Udo, believes distilling may have taken place there many centuries earlier.

Could it be the world’s oldest whisky distillery?

That’s a debate to be had over a half or two, but however long whisky has been produced there, it enjoyed a fascinating history during Littlemill’s time.

It was one of the first distilleries to have a female licensee in the shape of Jane MacGregor, in 1823.

In the 1930s, the distillery became known for its triple distillation process, before moving to the more traditional double distillation.

And in 1931, under the auspices of 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.

Littlemill was a Lowland malt but used a Highland water source, as well as peat from Stornoway and Perthshire.

Unfortunately, the distillery closed in 1994 and the final death knell seemed to have sounded when the building was destroyed by fire 10 years later.

But the last drops of Littlemill whisky didn’t go up in smoke.

Instead, they are about to come on the market for whisky aficionados to snap up – but only if they have plenty of cash to spend.

Michael Henry, Master Blender at Loch Lomond Distillery, has selected eight casks distilled between May 11 and May 19, 1990, for the Littlemill 2017 Private Cellar Edition.

Aged in refill bourbon barrels and married in fresh bourbon barrels for 12 months before bottling, this is the second in the series celebrating the now rare whisky.

There are 500 individually numbered bottles available, making it a sought-after dram.

But at £2250, you might need a swift drink before putting your hand in your pocket.