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On the northern outskirts of the village of Brora, you will find two distilleries sitting side by side. On arriving you are confronted by the modern Clynelish Distillery however your eye is drawn to the old Victorian buildings ? Brora Distillery. There has been some confusion about the histories and names of the distilleries. Clynelish distillery was built in 1819 by the 1st Duke of Sutherland at a cost of 750 pounds. By the end of the century the demand for its whisky is such that no trade orders are accepted. This led to the distillery being purchased by Ainslie & Co., whisky blenders from Leith, who increased capacity. By 1930 the distillery came under the ownership of Scottish Malt Distillers (SMD). Production was stopped during the Second World War but recommenced in 1945 and continued until 1967. With the installation of electricity a new distillery was built adjacent to the old one - much larger in size, with three pairs of stills as opposed to one. The new distillery assumed the name Clynelish. However this was not the end for the old distillery. There was a requirement for Islay style whisky and so the old distillery was renamed Brora and production recommenced in 1969. The distillery produced whisky using malted barley with very high peating levels. This whisky has achieved "cult" status among whisky connoisseurs around the world. Brora continued until 1983 when it was one of several distilleries closed due to over-production. Although the buildings remain, much of the distilling equipment has been removed. However visitors can still see the old stills and the filling store, the malt floors have been converted and have been used for local social functions.


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