I was wet, I was cold, and I was not prepared to accept when faced with a darkened and locked visitor centre that it was my fault for not reading the opening information properly. On a filthy day from Culrain to Helmsdale discovering that Clynelish was closed was almost too much to take. I debated how much trouble I would get into if I broke into the distillery and showed myself around. I elected to abstain from breaking and entering, and squelched on to Helmsdale for cake and something hot and sweet. My itinerary meant that I couldn’t double back on myself to tour Clynelish when  it opened again on the Monday. I had to get to Orkney.

*      *      *      *      *

Clynelish in white and Brora in grey.

Clynelish in white and Brora in grey.

Brora, Sutherland, KW9 6LR. 01408 623000. Diageo.


‘Clynelish Distillery Tour’: £5. A tour of the distillery (including a visit to the warehouse), with a dram of the 14yo to finish.

‘Taste of Clynelish Tour’: £10. The same tour, with a tasting of three Clynelishes at the end: the 14yo, the Distiller’s Edition and the Cask Strength Distillery-Exclusive.

‘Taste of Brora Tour’: £20. This sounds to me like a superb tour in which to participate. There is a tour of both distilleries on the Clynelish site: Clynelish itself and the now cult Brora. It is in the latter that the visitor is treated to a tutored tasting of the Clynelish range (as for the ‘Taste of Clynelish Tour’) with the edition of the 2009 and 2010 Brora 30yo Special Releases.

DISTILLERY-EXCLUSIVE BOTTLINGS:      A cask-strength, non-age-statement at 57.3% ABV, £45 approx.

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