If you’re not familiar with Thosop, I don’t blame you. This independent bottler’s last release dates from 2013 – almost a decade ago. But after a sample of the Littlemill 1989 22 Years was kindly shared with me, I just had to put the spotlight on Thosop once more, especially because this is an ingenious whisky.
Thosop is a cult indy bottler that was started by Luc Timmermans and then continued by Dominiek Bouckaert a.k.a. The Whiskyman. There are some other reviews of Thosop’s Handwritten Label series on Words of Whisky, including a Caol Ila, Bowmore and Cooley. They all stem from either 2014 and 2015, which would be the early years of this blog.
A total of 19 Scotch single malt whiskies were bottled as part of the Handwritten Label range, including a very limited Tomatin 1976. Only 24 bottles were released to collectors of the entire series.
And then there’s this Littlemill 1989 22 Years. I don’t get to review Littlemill as often anymore, partly because there aren’t that many casks left. Also because the ones that have been released in recent years were outside of my comfort zone. You know, money wise.
Of all the Littlemill I’ve tasted in the past decade or so, most have come from bourbon casks. I would say as much as 95 percent even. I always thought I preferred naked, bourbon-matured Littlemill, but then again, is that even true? Comparatively I have had little opportunity to taste sherried Littlemill.
Maybe, just maybe, this is one of those spirits that works very well in sherry casks? After all, just think of the sherried Inchmurrin bottled by the WhiskyNerds. A similar spirit character that did extremely well in sherry casks. Let’s just see what we have here.
Littlemill 1989 22 Years (55.4%, Thosop, 227 bts.)
Nose: For a refill sherry release this cask has been very influential. Plenty of gooseberries and some blackcurrants, but also touches of cinnamon, brown sugar and soft tropical notes. Think mango and papaya, then followed by some lemon peel and floral touches. The sherry is strong, but the Littlemill spirit doesn’t allow itself to be dominated. Taste: Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! It has that Littlemill funkiness and it is so very, very fruity. Tropical even. Pink grapefruit, papaya and pomelo, but also touches of varnish, aniseed and cough syrup. It’s slightly resinous, but that does not matter at all. There are touches of white pepper and nutmeg too. But it also has some whispers of chocolate and red fruits. Absolutely glorious. Finish: Rose petals, berries, blackcurrants. Some resin as well. Medium in length.
After having tasted quite a few Littlemill (I reviewed 25 or so on this blog alone), I'm happy to state that this is probably the best one I've tried so far. It's just so splendidly sherried yet unmistakable Littlemill as well. What an impressive pick the Littlemill 1989 22 Years from Thosop is, especially considering this was released before Littlemill's reputation became what it is today. Thanks for sharing, Harmen!