Littlemill distillery was a Scottish malt whisky distillery in Bowling, West Dunbartonshire and is proven to be Scotland's first and oldest licensed whisky distillery. Situated on the border of Lowlands and Highlands, its products were generally classified as lowlands whisky. Auchentorlie Estate, along with a brewery call Littlemill, was purchased in 1750 by Archibal Buchanan from his brother Andrew Buchanan. It is unclear exactly when distilling started on this site however the gable end on one of the warehouses has a date stone carved with 1772. That same year accommodation was also built next door to the distillery to house the Excise officers.
Justice of the Peace records for Dumbarton show that 'Robert Muir of Littlemiln', an employee, was granted the first ever licence by the Government of King George the 3rd to “…retail ale, beer and other excisable Liquors.” on the 2nd of November 1773.
Littlemill was at the forefront of still innovation with technical designs that could create three styles of single malts from full-bodied to light. Littlemill closed in 1929 until it was bought and reopened by Duncan Thomas in 1931, who experimented at the distillery with different new techniques. He used a new design of a Saladin box for malting with two ventilation towers and a single kiln. The copper pot stills were aluminium coated, and used rectifying columns instead of swan necks to have greater control over the distillation process, and production switched from a triple distillation to a double distillation technique.
In 1984 the Littlemill distillery closed. It was reopened and bought by Gibson International in 1989, closing down again in 1994 after Gibson International went bankrupt, and was sold to Loch Lomond Distillery. It was dismantled in 1997, and the remnants of the distillery were destroyed in a fire in 2004.
The distillery produced three different kinds of whisky, which was made possible through the rectifying columns on the stills: a heavily peated variety under the name "Dumbuck", a full bodied whisky named "Dunglas" and a light traditional lowland whisky under its own name "Littlemill". Dumbuck and Dunglas were discontinued in 1972. The remaining casks from Littlemill are currently at Loch Lomond Distillery with Loch Lomond Group releasing limited edition bottles.