Clynelish Whisky Distillery

The original Clynelish Distillery was started in 1819 in the northern outskirts of the village of Brora in the Northern Highlands by the Marquis of Stafford (later the First Duke of Sutherland). It was so successful and its whisky so popular that by the end of the century they could not accept any trade orders. The distillery was sold to Ainslie & Co in 1896, which reconstructed and expanded the distillery. Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD) bought the distillery in 1930.

Like most other distilleries Clynelish stopped production of whisky during the Second World War and recommenced production only in 1945. In 1967 another distillery was set up right next door that was a modern construction equipped with electricity. It was furnished with six stills, three wash and three spirit stills. This new distillery was named Clynelish Distillery and the original Victorian building renamed Brora Distillery after the town.

The new Clynelish Distillery was launched in 1969 and the original one which was the old Clynelish (or rather the new Brora) was silent till 1975. It then started production of Islay style whisky which used malted barley with very high peating levels. Brora continued until 1983 but closed down at that time because of over production. The buildings however remain and the still houses and other structures can be visited even today. The malt floors of the old distillery are used for social occasions and lend a lot of character to the occasions.

The new Clynelish Distillery was three times the size of the original and though it is an attractive modern structure in an anonymous way, it continues to produce whisky worthy of its long standing name and reputation. Clynelish is however a much lighter whisky in comparison with the Brora Malts though a medium peated malt is used in its production. The Single Malt Scotch Whisky produced here is marked by a distinctive fruity, slightly smoky flavor. Spring water for the Clynielish distillery traditionally comes from the Clynemilton burn. The distillery was taken over by United Distillers in 1986. UD merged with IDV in 1998 to form UDV, which is part of Diageo.

Clynelish 14 Years Old was originally bottled as Flora and Fauna. It has been replaced by the official 14 Years Old from the Hidden Malt range and was one of the Diageo Classic Malts Selection in 2005. The other whiskies from the distillery include Clynelish 1982 Cask Strength as well as Clyneish 22 Years Old and Brora 21 Years Old. In addition there are several independent bottlings of the Clynelish product by Gordon & MacPhail and Signatory.

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