The original building for the Clynelish distillery was first built in 1819, next door to the present building. Originally the distillery was built by the local Duke of Sutherland as he forced tenant farmers off of their lands. These workers either had to move or work at one of the Duke’s businesses such as the distillery.
It was not a profitable enterprise until much later when blenders Ainslie & Heilbron alongside their business partner John Risk took over the distillery. By the turn of the 20th century it was producing the most highly-priced single malt whisky. Later on it would be folded into DCL’s drinks brands, who would later go on to become Diageo. In 1967 when demand for luxury goods was rapidly rising, a second building was constructed next to the original site. This would help to meet the exorbitant demand for this whisky.
The distillery was closed in 1983 and it looked to remain shut. Until in 2014 Diageo announced a £30 million investment in the distillery. Later in 2018 a further £150 million was invested by Diageo on a number of its distilleries including Clynelish. 95% of Clynelish’s total output goes to the legendary Johnnie Walker brand, most frequently found in the Gold Label Reserve.