So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Closed Lowlanders: Littlemill 1991/2015 G&M Rare Old RO/15/04 vs St. Magdalene 1975/2012 G&M Rare Old RO/12/07

Maybe not the best lowland pairing. Littlemill is generally light, sometimes fruity-grass whisky that wasn’t even distilled in pot stills. That’s right, it was distilled in stills with their tops chopped off and replaced with a rectifying column, and then covered in aluminium. Whereas St. Magdalene might be said to have a true highlands style that is to say difficult and sometimes odd, with lots of ‘hydrocarbons’. Both are closed and both are gone. Some people like to suggest that poor product is the reason why a distillery was closed, both these distilleries however might take that notion with some affront, I might even imagine both these distilleries telling such persons to go back to their NAS Macallan.


Littlemill 1991/2015, G&M Rare Old, RO/15/04 45.5%

Nose  Nose: In between two worlds. The ethereal fragrance of an almost-there fruitiness meets the light earthiness of clay, grass and broken branches. Take a fruity Littlemill and a grassy one and blend it and this might be the result. So the dial is not set to 10 in either but complexity is in overdrive, in a light aromatic lilting way. After a while the mineral kaolin and stripped branches take over, gilded ever slightly with the zing of grapefruit.

Taste  Palate: White clay, Grassy branchy mineral and gently mentholated. Again the clear but somewhat diluted zesty fruit is present but remains very much in the background here, that being said it is not a contest between the two camps but the fruit does bring the earthier aspects of this whisky together.

Finish  Finish: Rather long, and now its all about juice, after taste of citrus and mixed berries.


Must be taken as it is, for its delicate complexity will be completely lost next to an Ardbeg, or a Glendronach, but when given its space, Littlemill’s charm reveals itself.



St. Magdalene 1975/2012 G&M Rare Old RO/12/07 43%

Nose  Nose: Much thicker and fuller than the delicacy of the Littlemill now. With a plethora of vintage scents, some heavier than others: Old pinewood lacquered in Grandpa’s time. Dried out furniture wax in a rusty can. Machine oils and lubricants in an old shop. A thick pile of dried grass, a can of kerosene. Dried out paperbacks on dusty shelves. Granted none of this sounds particularly mouthwatering, but the whole is far more appetizing than its parts.

Taste  Palate: Indeed far thicker and fuller than its fellow lowlander. Oils and weight. Really antique wood cabinets full of black peppercorns (works like mothballs but far healthier) and ancient leather peeling off on hangars. Lots of cracking wax and a greasy workshop. Somewhat less expressive than its nose. Fatally, a merest hint of forgotten floral satchets left to molder. I am especially sensitive to this. Might have been in the cask too long, or should not have been reduced.

Finish Finish: Long, damp leather old wood and peppercorns.


The nose was great. Full of St. Magdalene’s potential to showcase distilleries as true individuals, read: characterful, read: not necessarily a crowd pleaser. But this is one of my favourites for a reason. Alas the hint of something in the palate did do it in.

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This entry was posted on November 20, 2015 by in Littlemill, St. Magdalene and tagged , .
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