Brora Highland Whisky Distillery
Clynelish was the distillery founded in 1819 by the Marquis of Stafford who married into the Scottish Sutherland family. He took on this venture in order to take business away from the smugglers who operated nearby. The Marquis later became the Duke of Sutherland he was deeply involved in the highland clearances and evicted thousands of crofters to farm sheep. It was also rumoured he only had Clynelish built to create a buyer for his barley.
James Ainslie & Heilbron of Glasgow bought the distillery and rebuilt form scratch and Brora still has the original kiln and floor maltings installed by Ainslie and Heilbron. They went under in 1912 and the whisky was purchased by a John Risk in a partnership with Distillers Company Ltd. Although Scottish whisky historians disagree it is assumed some of the business was sold to Johnnie Walker however little of the malt whisky produced was used in blends and sold to private buyers. Risk and Walker sold up to Distillers Company Ltd a few years later. Clynelish was silent during the 30’s and during World War 2 like may whisky distilleries.
The whisky sales were so good that in 1967 another distillery was built across the road also called Clynelish. In 1969 the original Clynelish was given the name Brora which originates from Old Norse (which heavily influenced the Scottish language) and means ‘river bridges’. Later Brora became another distillery in the Diageo Empire and the original distillery closed in 1983. What was Brora is now the visitor centre for Clynelish which is still very active.
Taste: Rare but if you can afford it the 30 year old is worth every penny, fruity without the heavily peated taste of most Brora whiskies.
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