Scotland’s Littlemill Distillery recently partnered with renowned photographer Stefan Sappert to launch a rarified single malt, a 45-year-old whisky that commemorates the distillery’s 250th anniversary.
Founded in 1772 in Bowling, West Dunbartonshire, the distillery was lost to a fire in 2004. Since then, Master Blender of Loch Lomond Group Michael Henry has been the guardian of the last remaining casks, drawing on the limited reserves for the Littlemill 250th Anniversary Release.
“Littlemill was lost before its contribution to whisky could ever be fully acknowledged and applauded,” Henry said. “However, we are lucky to have the remaining few casks under our care, a stone’s throw from where the original distillery once stood, and it felt only right to mark this significant milestone with a very special limited release.”
Released last month, this Littlemill expression is its oldest age statement to date with 250 individually-numbered bottles available globally, each priced £9,500.
To mark the historic milestone, Littlemill collaborated with Sappert to honor two important moments in the brand’s timeline, the establishment of Littlemill and its innovators who shaped whisky production, and the development of photography, both happening in the late 1700s.
A statement from the whisky maker explained that Stefan’s traditional photographic technique, silver on black glass, combined with state-of-the-art production creates dramatic and atmospheric imagery. His portfolio includes international stars Alice Cooper, Joss Stone, Sting, Rod Stewart, and David Duchovny.
In this collaboration, Stefan worked with Master Blender Henry to create a special collectible for the Littlemill 250th Anniversary Release, which also gives enthusiasts a chance to own a piece of the lost distillery’s legacy.
The whisky itself was taken from a single distillation on Oct. 4th, 1976. It was re-casked in 1996 into American oak hogsheads, before maturing in first-fill Oloroso sherry hogsheads for a final six months before bottling.
“Double distilled in Littlemill’s bespoke straight neck pot stills which were designed to give a triple distillation style character, this is a lowland single malt whisky of exceptional character,” Henry noted. “In keeping with our records of how Littlemill was treated, I have given the liquid a final six-month finish in first-fill Oloroso sherry hogsheads. You can taste the history in every precious drop, from elderflower, chamomile and lemon zest, to the silk-like creme caramel and tart green apple, and the warming ginger and cinnamon spice finish.”
In homage to Stefan and his photographic process, the Littlemill 250th bottle cabinet draws inspiration from a Victorian bellows camera box with a traditional lens, designed by Morans Wood Components and Scottish crystal studio Glencairn..
Inside, each hand blown crystal decanter, also by Glencairn, is inspired by a camera aperture and is topped with a hand-turned and finished gold-plated collar and stopper.
As part of the collaboration, Stefan manufactured 250 silver on black glass photographic plates. Perched in a drawer under the decanter, the plates recapture an image of the River Clyde near Littlemill’s doorsteps. Each individually numbered plate is exclusive to its new owner, bearing Stefan’s signature and fingerprints on the reverse.
“The art of whisky-making is fascinating. Like wet plate photography, it captures a moment that requires an equal amount of patience, dedication, passion, and most importantly, time,” Stefan said. “My work uses one of the oldest photographic processes that links directly to the 1770s, where the basis of creating permanent photographs was discovered and when Littlemill was founded. I work with an old wooden camera and a historic lens that is over 160 years old. The result is not just a digital image, but a genuine piece of art.”
Non-chill filtered and bottled at its natural color and natural strength of 41.8% ABV, the Littlemill 250th Anniversary Release is available for purchase via enquiry through the Littlemill website at www.littlemilldistillery.com, and through specialized retailers.
Littlemill 250th Anniversary Release tasting notes:
- Nose: Floral elderflower and chamomile with grapefruit and lemon zest, deeper sweet notes of toffee with marzipan, almond and vanilla.
- Palate: Silk-like mouthfeel floats over the tongue, crème caramel and vanilla syrup with tart green fruits of apple, pear and lime, gentle cinnamon and nutmeg spice.
- Finish: Long with mouth-watering green fruit, some dry oak tannin then warming ginger and cinnamon spice.