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Image Credit:  Elite Traveler



Jackie Robertson
*Master Distiller



Barrel Head


Barrel Head

head whisky maker(s)

Barrel Head


Barrel Head

Year Founded

Barrel Head


Brora, originally known as Clynelish, has garnered a devoted following among whisky enthusiasts, evolving into a cult favorite. The distillery's bottlings from its final years of operation reflect a diverse range of styles, from intensely oily and smoky expressions to those with just a subtle hint of peat. Brora's history dates back to its origins as Clynelish, established in 1819 by the Marquis of Stafford, later known as the Duke of Sutherland. The distillery's early years were marked by the Marquis's involvement in the notorious Highland Clearances, a period of forced evictions that displaced thousands of farmers from their ancestral lands. Some of those affected eventually settled in Brora, where they were employed in the Duke's various enterprises, including whisky production.

The distillery underwent several changes in ownership and management over the years until it was rebuilt in 1896 by James Ainslie and John Risk. Subsequently, John Walker & Sons became involved in 1916. After various shifts in ownership and the construction of a new, larger distillery (initially known as Clynelish 2) alongside the original, the original distillery was renamed Brora in 1975.

During the 1970s, Brora played a crucial role in producing heavily peated malt whisky to meet demand when DCL's Caol Ila distillery was undergoing renovations. Additionally, during Islay's drought periods, Brora contributed to DCL's need for heavily peated whisky. While Brora's overall peating levels declined after 1977, occasional expressions from the 1980s still exhibited intense smokiness.

Unfortunately, Brora closed its doors in 1983, and despite occasional rumors of reopening, its fate remained uncertain. However, in October 2017, Diageo unveiled plans to revive both Brora and Port Ellen distilleries, both of which had ceased production in 1983. The reopening process was completed in May 2021, marking a significant milestone in the distillery's storied history.

-Written (Mostly) by Robots-

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