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The Lost Distilleries

The lost distilleries of Scotland are almost always the most popular and highly sought after amongst whisky collectors and the cognoscenti. Their whisky has become legendary, and not just for its flavour, but for the fact it is incredibly rare and hard to find, though it was once very different...

Scotland was once home to hundreds of distilleries, and in the peak of the 19th century, there were over two hundred of them in operation! This number quickly started to dwindle, as distilleries started closing for various economic reasons.

US Prohibition killed off a number of distilleries whose main income came from export to America, and shortly after the UK was stricken by the economic depression of the 1920s and 1930s. After the Second World War around 70 distilleries closed down for good, though as the UK slowly started to build itself back up again the popularity and growth of whisky continued to increase up until the 1980s, when economic difficulties forced the industry to make cut backs. At that time, blended Scotch was the most popular style of whisky, whilst single malts only really become popular comparatively recently. The result of this was that when cut backs were made, it was done with blended whisky in mind. Smaller distilleries closed, as did those whose whisky didn’t make much of an impact when used as a blending component.

The whisky industry is back on the rise now, and increased interest in single malts has even brought about the reopening of several distilleries. With this in mind, the lost distilleries of the 20th century will always have a special place in our hearts, distilleries like Rosebank, St Magdalene, the intensely smoky Brora , Dallas Dhu , and the epic Port Ellen, amongst many, many others...

Littlemill 25 Year Old 1988 (cask 10349) - Directors' Cut (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 56.2%
Littlemill

A Directors' Cut bottling of Littlemill single malt Scotch whisky, matured in a single cask for 25 years. The distillery was closed in the 1990s and unfortunately destroyed in a fire in the 2000s.…  More info

Littlemill 25 Year Old 1988 (cask 10349) - Directors' Cut (Douglas Laing)
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Caperdonich 38 Year Old 1972 - Rarest of the Rare (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 53.6%
Caperdonich

This Caperdonich was distilled in November 1972 and aged in cask 7440 for 38 years before bottling in May 2011. A release of 181 bottles from Duncan Taylor's Rarest of the Rare series.  More info

Caperdonich 38 Year Old 1972 - Rarest of the Rare (Duncan Taylor)

Caperdonich 38 Year Old 1970 (Adelphi)

70cl, 57.1%
Caperdonich

This was distilled at Caperdonich in 1970. The distilled was mothballed in 2002, so its whisky is becoming rather rare. This was aged in cask 4378 before bottling in 2008 by Adelphi as a release of…  More info

Caperdonich 38 Year Old 1970 (Adelphi)

Dallas Dhu 1979 (Gordon and MacPhail)

70cl, 43%
Dallas Dhu

The closed Dallas Dhu distillery in Speyside produced this single malt Scotch whisky in 1979. Unfortunately they aren't around anymore to bottle it, but Gordon and Macphail have done that job and…  More info

Dallas Dhu 1979 (Gordon and MacPhail)

Rosebank 25 Year Old

70cl, 61.4%
Rosebank

A cask strength official bottling from the Rosebank distillery, distilled in 1981 and matured for 25 years in refill Bourbon casks before bottling as a limited release of just 4,710 bottles.  More info

Rosebank 25 Year Old
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St Magdalene 1975 - Rare Old (Gordon & MacPhail)

70cl, 43%
St. Magdalene

Rare as hen's teeth, and a darn sight tastier. This 1975 St Magdalene was bottled by Gordon & MacPhail.  More info

St Magdalene 1975 - Rare Old (Gordon & MacPhail)

Port Ellen 27 Year Old 1983 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

70cl, 50%
Port Ellen

A 27 year old Port Ellen bottled under the Old Malt Cask label from Douglas Laing. It won't be around for ever, Port Ellen. And you'll miss it when it's gone so you will.  More info

Port Ellen 27 Year Old 1983 - Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing)

Imperial 23 Year Old 1990 (cask 11974) - Mackillop's Choice

70cl, 58.4%
Imperial

The closed Imperial Distillery in the Speyside region produced this single malt Scotch whisky, which was lovingly aged for 23 years (from December 1990 to March 2014, if you're wondering). It was…  More info

Imperial 23 Year Old 1990 (cask 11974) - Mackillop's Choice

Littlemill 8 Year Old

70cl, 40%
Littlemill

Littlemill has since been closed and demolished and will inevitably become rare in time. This is a great chance to try this classic Littlemill bottling.  More info

Littlemill 8 Year Old
$188.65

Littlemill 22 Year Old 1992 (cask 10882) - Old & Rare (Hunter Laing)

70cl, 53.8%
Littlemill

22 year old single malt Scotch whisky from a closed distillery? Oh go on then! This Hunter Laing Old & Rare bottling features whisky from the Littlemill distillery, which was closed in the 1990s.…  More info

Littlemill 22 Year Old 1992 (cask 10882) - Old & Rare (Hunter Laing)

Glen Mhor 28 Year Old 1982 Cask 1328 - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

70cl, 56.8%
Glen Mhor

A 28 year old single cask whisky from the now closed Glen Mhor distillery. This was distilled in 1982, aged in a single wine treated hogshead and bottled By Signatory on the 24th November 2010.  More info

Glen Mhor 28 Year Old 1982 Cask 1328 - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

Caperdonich 20 Year Old 1992 - Rarest of the Rare (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 54.7%
Caperdonich

This is a superb single cask Caperdonich from Duncan Taylor's impressive Rarest of the Rare range. It was distilled in April 1992 before a 20 year maturation in cask 46215. It was bottled at natural…  More info

Caperdonich 20 Year Old 1992 - Rarest of the Rare  (Duncan Taylor)

Ayrshire - Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

50cl, 47.2%
Ladyburn

'Ayrshire' single malt, as you may know, comes from the... well, the clue's in the label design really. A burning lady? A burning lady in a burn? A lady-burn? Yes, that. Apologies for it being so…  More info

Ayrshire - Batch 1 (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

Garnheath 28 Year Old 1986 (cask 22156) - The Cooper's Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)

70cl, 48.5%
Garnheath

A rare example of single grain Scotch whisky from the Garnheath distillery, who operated within the Moffat complex from 1965 to 1986. This Cooper's Choice single cask bottling was distilled during…  More info

Garnheath 28 Year Old 1986 (cask 22156) - The Cooper's Choice (The Vintage Malt Whisky Co.)
$199.88

Rare Ayrshire 37 Year Old 1975 (cask 3424) - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

70cl, 47.5%
Ladyburn

A rare bottling from the closed distillery of Ladyburn in Ayrshire, aged for 37 years in a single bourbon barrel. An outturn of 183 natural cask strength bottles from Signatory.  More info

Rare Ayrshire 37 Year Old 1975 (cask 3424) - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

Rare Ayrshire 36 Year Old 1975 - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

70cl, 44.1%
Ladyburn

A spicy, bourbon barrel-matured single cask Rare Ayrshire, aged for 36 years in barrel number 3416 before bottling in 2012.  More info

Rare Ayrshire 36 Year Old 1975 - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

Coleburn 1981 - Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon & MacPhail)

70cl, 43%
Coleburn

A 27 year old bottling from Gordon and MacPhail's Connoisseur's Choice range, single malts from the Coleburn distillery are decidedly rare and this refill sherry matured expression is a wonderful…  More info

Coleburn 1981 - Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon & MacPhail)
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Glen Mhor 28 Year Old 1976 - Rare Malts

70cl, 51.9%
Glen Mhor

A very rare edition of 28 year old single malt from the silent Glen Mhor distillery, bottled under Diageo's Rare Malts label.  More info

Glen Mhor 28 Year Old 1976 - Rare Malts

Brechin 28 Year Old

70cl, 53%
North Port

Part of a release of just 2,040 bottles of Brechin (aka North Port). This was aged for 28 years before bottling at cask strength.  More info

Brechin 28 Year Old

Caperdonich 41 Year Old 1969 Cask 3254 - Rarest of the Rare (Duncan Taylor)

70cl, 40.3%
Caperdonich

Distilled in October 1969 at the Caperdonich distillery, aged for 41 years in single cask 3254 and bottled for the Rarest of the Rare series in March 2011. A release of 176 bottles.  More info

Caperdonich 41 Year Old 1969 Cask 3254 - Rarest of the Rare (Duncan Taylor)

SMWS No. 25.32 11 Year Old 1992

70cl, 54.3%
Rosebank

A stupendous single cask whisky from SMWS from a secret distillery (let's just say its R -Bank. No, that's too obvious, let's call it Rose-B). This is a berry-fruit-rich whisky from the now closed…  More info

SMWS No. 25.32 11 Year Old 1992
$209.55

Imperial 20 Year Old 1995 (cask 515463) - The Duncan Taylor Single

70cl, 48%
Imperial

20 year old single malt Scotch whisky from the closed Imperial distillery, presented as part of the Duncan Taylor range. This is a 1995 vintage, meaning it was distilled a few years before the…  More info

Imperial 20 Year Old 1995 (cask 515463) - The Duncan Taylor Single
$213.48

Caperdonich 21 Year Old 1992 (cask 46220) - The Duncan Taylor Single

70cl, 54.5%
Caperdonich

A deluxe bottling of single malt Scotch whisky distilled by Caperdonich, which was sadly mothballed in 2002. Bottled by Duncan Taylor for their Single range, this 21 year old whisky comes in a…  More info

Caperdonich 21 Year Old 1992 (cask 46220) - The Duncan Taylor Single

Brora 25 Year Old

70cl, 56.3%
Brora

A rare 25 year old release from the Brora distillery; less than 3,000 bottles were filled. This single malt was matured in American and European oak and exudes nutty, winter spice notes.  More info

Brora 25 Year Old
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Glen Mhor 29 Year Old 1982 (cask 1604) - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

70cl, 51%
Glen Mhor

This was distilled at Glen Mhor on the 22nd September 1982, and it was aged for 29 years in hogshead 1604 before bottling by Signatory at natural cask strength.  More info

Glen Mhor 29 Year Old 1982 (cask 1604) - Cask Strength Collection (Signatory)

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