The distillery which later would be renamed Brora was initially called Clynelish and was founded in 1819 by the Marquis of Stafford, later the first Duke of Sunderland. The marquis was one of the architects behind the ‘clearances’ during which tens of thousands of tenants were evicted from their highland farms. The land was needed for sheep farming to supply the booming wool industry. Many of the evicted tenants moved out to the coastal areas and these families had a hard time making their living and many of them soon started to illegally distil whisky to boost their income. In an attempt to stem this spreading illegal activity, the marquis built the Clynelish distillery and licensed it so that the coastal farmers would have a legal market for their grain. In 1967 a new distillery was built alongside the original distillery. The new distillery was named Clynelish B and the original distillery was called Clynelish A. Clynelish A was closed in 1968 but was reopened shortly afterwards because of an increased demand for whisky by the blending industry. The ‘new’ whisky was produced much smokier than its predecessor.
Creamy toffee with fresh fruits, a hint of salt, honey (sweet clover honey) with some spices and bees’ wax. As it sits in the glass, you also get floral hints, big vanilla and citrus. Beautifully cream-coated bouquet. Oily, then the fruity arrival which then burst into a lovely complex combination of sweet, sour and peppery flavors. It’s like oily honey with black pepper. Vanilla and toffee again. Caramel, creme brulée note and a remote hint of peat. At first the finish is abrupt, but the more you come back to this whisky, the better the finish gets.