Scotland and Scotch whisky: Northern Highlands  whisky through the producing distilleries: history, making, maps and tasting notes



 DistilerieEnSommeilBrora Distillery 
Sutherland KW9 6LR  

Owner: Diageo

Creation date: 1819

The distillery was originally called Clynelish. Its founder, the Marquis of Stafford, who will later become the Duke of Sutherland, notorious for the execrable way he chased people (about 1500) living on his land away, just to leave the place to sheep who were in his opinion more "profitable".
The marquis was a fearsome business man with good inspiration. To guarantee the incomes for his barley, he built a distillery and doing so he killed two birds with one stone: all his barley could be sold and he made great profits selling his whisky.
He got his distillers licence in 1824. Another reason for him to open a distillery was to cut the ground under the moonshine distillers who were legion in the area in those days.
The distillery was purchased in 1896 by the group James Ainslie & Co who sold a part of their shares to the D.C.L. (Distillers Company Ltd) in 1912 after having been absorbed by John Risk. In the meanwhile, the main part of Risk's shares have been bought by John Walker who merged with the D.C. L. who became so the owner for 100% in 1925.
The group was forced to close Clynelish. The distillery did not reopen before 1938 for a short while (3 years). World War II had the same consequences for Clynelish as for most of the other distilleries: closing due to a lack of barley.
In 1967 a new distillery has been build near the first one, under the name or Clynelish 2. The old distillery closed in 1969 and reopened in 1975 under the name Brora before closing for good in 1983. Brora produced the most peaty malt of the Highlands. Its nickname was "The Lagavulin of the North".
Its peaty malt helped the group to limit the consequences of the lack of malt for blends due to temporary closing of Caol Ila for important refurbishment works.

The market being what it is, Diageo said in October 2017 they want to reopen Brora. This reopening is expected to take place around 2020 if building permits are issued.



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