Littlemill has unveiled its latest annual release, The Vanguard Collection: Chapter One, a 45 year old whisky drawn from the oldest and rarest reserves of the Lowland distillery.
For this expression, Littlemill has collaborated with British artist Vic Lee, who has worked with brands such as McLaren, Nike and Atkin Guitars.
Using traditional screen printing, Lee has created 250 cotton paper artworks reimaging the original license through contemporary illustrations, including the original stills and warehouse of Littlemill.
Commenting on his work for the expression, Lee said: “Working closely with Michael and the team, we sought to create something bespoke and unique that could accompany each exclusive bottle. The artwork had to respect the original license from 1773, and through a detailed and time-consuming approach, I drew upon historic penmanship and printing methods, while applying my own contemporary feel.
“There is so much beauty in works and letters; they can incite so much emotion and understanding of a period of time, which was exactly what was required for this remarkable Littlemill launch.”
The liquid itself was distilled on 11 October 1977 at the original site in Bowling, West Dumbartonshire, using Littlemill’s straight-neck copper pot hybrid stills.
The liquid was stored in refill American Oak casks before a final five-year finish in a first-fill oloroso sherry hogshead. The choice of finish wood was selected by master blender Michael Henry.
Bottled at cask strength of 5.5%, only 250 individually numbered bottles are available worldwide, priced at £12,500.
Henry commented on the release: : “Littlemill’s was Scotland’s first licensed distillery, but the journey thereafter is what makes it remarkable. It’s legacy is defined by unsung heroes and quiet trailblazers at its helm.
“These vanguards of their time were overturning traditions in production, innovating with still designs and craftsmanship, and quietly leaving their fingerprints on Littlemill and the wider whisky industry. Much like Littlemill itself, these individuals passed into history before their contribution could ever be applauded, but their influence lives on in these last precious casks, which I am lucky enough to have under my personal care and custodianship.”