A selection of rare whiskies from one of Scotland’s lost distilleries is heading to auction. For collectors, the Brora auction hosted by Whisky Auctioneer is an opportunity to get an ultra-rare bottle of prized Scotch.

Dormant for decades and sometimes a generation, whisky from ‘lost distilleries’ often has mythical status. This applies to legendary Sutherland distillery Brora, whose whiskies have become increasingly sought-after in recent years.

The distillery shuttered its doors in 1983. For nearly forty years, Brora has become one of Scotland’s many distilleries that have fallen silent and lost to history. For whisky connoisseurs, collectors, and investors there is none more revered for its quality of liquid, extreme rarity, and unique history than Brora.

rare brora whiskies single malt
A rare Single Malt aged 40 years (Image: Whisky Auctioneer)

As such, it is fortuitous that auction house Whisky Auctioneer will be hosting the first-ever dedicated Brora sale this month. Taking place from 15 to 19 April, the action will feature over 50 rare Brora whiskies. It stands as the largest collection ever from the distillery to be held in one auction.

The Lost Distillery

Located in Sutherland, Brora distillery shares an intertwined history with Clynelish — a victim of its own success. The owners of the Clynelish distillery had decided to build a secondary distillery next door due to its growing reputation.

This modern distillery was to take the name Clynelish moving forward, following a brief period where the distilleries were simply referred to as ‘Clynelish A’ and ‘Clynelish B’. The original distillery was renamed Brora in 1969.

Clynelish Distillery circa 1905 (Image: Clyne Heritage Society)

Over the next few years, Brora produced a heavily-peated single malt, comparable to the whiskies of Islay. This era has become a storied part of the distillery’s history before it started reducing peat once again in 1973. However, Brora distillery was one of several distilleries that closed in the Spring of 1983 following the ‘whisky loch’ crisis.

Despite closing, the distillery’s legend continued to live on. Eventually it gained a cult following of whisky lovers over the decades for its unique profile and strong character malts. The auction comes in time with the gentle reawakening of Brora. The distillery and its operations aim to reopen in 2021 offering a new era for the label.

Rare Expressions

The auction will include extremely scarce expressions from the old Clynelish distillery. The rare Brora whiskies were mostly distilled prior to its brief closure in the late sixties. These rarities are celebrated for their highly idiosyncratic style and elusive waxy character that cannot be replicated in modern whiskies.

The distillery workers at the old Clynelish distillery. Early 20th Century. (Image: Diageo)

“Few distilleries manifest more allure than Brora, and none so effortlessly,” explains Joe Wilson, Whisky Auctioneer’s Head of Auction Content. “It’s striking to see an auction dedicated to so many rare Brora bottles. Especially as they are rarely seen on the secondary market.”

The Brora auction encapsulates the distillery’s past, allowing aficionados a chance to bid on complete collections and rare Single Malts. The auction will feature rare Brora whiskies that were made prior to the distillery’s halt in production in 1983.

selection of rare brora whiskies

The auction will also feature various expressions from the historic 1972 Brora vintage. These include the 1972 Cask Strength 40-Year-Old decanter, the oldest Brora ever released at the time and a sibling to some of the most legendary expressions ever produced at the distillery.

Other highlights in the exclusive auction have only appeared for sale on very rare occasions, if ever. A star lot is Bottle #1 – a 1978 Brora bottled at 41 years under Diageo’s Casks of Distinction programme.

One of only 60 bottles in the world, this is the first time it will have ever appeared for sale. The auction also features the complete collection of Brora bottled under the sought-after Rare Malts Selection and Special Releases.

written by.
Richard Augustin
Former chef turned writer; Richard has tip-toed around the publishing industry for two decades. When not busy chasing deadlines, you can still find him experimenting with recipes in the kitchen.

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