A brief history and some notable bottles from this iconic Highland distillery. Distillery Profile: Brora / Old Clynelish

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Owner: Diageo
Founded: 1819
Status: Closed (Due to reopen in 2020)
Region: Highland
Capacity: 800,000 litres

The Brora and Clynelish distillery share a familial history, and are separated only by a street crossing. Sadly, Brora now sits as a visitor centre to the Clynelish distillery as we know it today, following closure in 1983.

The original Clynelish distillery was founded in 1819 and other than a brief mothballed period in the 1930s, had functioned, growing in size and reputation, for close to a century and a half when owners DCL decided to build a new modern distillery on the same site. This new distillery was to take the name Clynelish forward, leaving the original distillery to be renamed Brora.

From 1969 until its closure in 1983, Brora produced heavily peated malt. However, the distillery’s legacy has continued long after its closure, with regular releases appearing on the market under both the Rare Malts and Special Releases series. Today the distillery has gained a cult following of whisky aficionados dedicated to both Brora and old Clynelish bottlings, which are considered to be of distinctive character and exceptional quality. In 2017 Diageo announced that Brora would reopen and begin production again in 2020. 



  • 1819 - Clynelish Distillery was founded by the 1st Duke of Sutherland
  • 1967 - A new distillery also named "Clynelish" is opened adjacent to the first one (this was known as Clynelish A)
  • 1968 - The original Clynelish Distillery is mothballed
  • 1969 - The original Clynelish Distillery re-opens under the new name "Clynelish B"
  • 1969 - "Clynelish B" Distillery changes name to "Brora" 
  • 1969 - "Clynelish A" Distillery is renamed to simply Clynelish Distillery
  • 1983 - Brora Distillery is closed



  • Brora Special Releases from Diageo, 2002 – 2017

  • 1972 Diageo Rare Malts for Brora and Clynelish

  • Brora 1972 40 Year Old Decanter

  • Clynelish 12 Year Old Ainslie and Heilbron

  • Clynelish 1966 Cadenhead's 23 Year Old Sestante White Label