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Brora Distillery
Location: Brora, Sutherland
Roads: Off the A9

Text from The Whisky Trails, Copyright © Gordon Brown 1993:

Brora distillery closed in 1983 and ceded its original name – Clynelish – to the new distillery built just across the road from it. Brora, viewed from the outside with its hump-backed hill rising behind, is a fine example of the classic, close-knit little Victorian distillery – steeply sloping warehouse roofs, an imperious pagoda head rising high above everything but the chimney-stack and a fort-like cluster of stone buildings round a courtyard.

The distillery was founded in 1819 by the Marquis of Stafford who had married into the Sutherland family. His idea was at least partly to take control of local whisky-supply away from the smugglers. There were several licensees up to 1834 when Andrew Ross took over for a dozen years. In 1896, Glasgow blenders, Ainslie’s, bought the distillery and rebuilt it to the form it has today, and the distillery eventually passed to DCL. There is one pair of stills and the floor maltings and kiln are still in place.


The Whisky
Text from The Whisky Trails, Copyright © Gordon Brown 1993:

It is still possible to find Brora malt. When Clynelish and Brora were both in production, the latter initially produced spirit from very highly peated barley to produce an Islay type of whisky for blending; it then went over to using the same milder reek as Clynelish. There was no in-house bottling of Brora as a single malt, but casks were acquired by independents. Currently available is 1972, from one of the High Street specialists, which is in the concentrated style. It is quite splendidly earthy, spicy and resonant à la Islay, but the texture and finish are unexpectedly elegant and clean. Last distillations took place in 1983 so, theoretically, there could be surprise packages around for some time yet.

Source of water
Clynmilton Burn
 
Of interest
Text from The Whisky Trails, Copyright © Gordon Brown 1993:

• There was a Goldrush in the 1860s in the Strath of Kildonan. Baile an Or (‘Valley of Gold’) and Suisgill were the main lodes and gold is still found today; you can get a permit to pan from the Information centre at Helmsdale.

• Did the Scots beat Columbus to the discovery of America? The Clan Gunn Heritage Centre at Latheron has the evidence, they say.

Laidhay Croft Museum at Dunbeath is a rush-thatched Caithness longhouse with the stable, byre and living quarters under a single roof.

• The Grey Cairns of Camster are chambered tombs from 4000 BC built of Caithness flagstone.