Published: 15/02/2016 11:58 - Updated: 15/02/2016 12:05

Have you got a rare bottle in your attic?

Do you have a bottle of Brora Distillery whisky hidden away?
Do you have a bottle of Brora Distillery whisky hidden away?

Experts from Rare Whisky 101 are advising Sutherland residents to scour their attics and dust out their cupboards to uncover any rare bottles of whisky from the Brora Distillery, which was based in the village until its closure in 1983.

During the first half of 2015, 163 bottles of whisky from Brora have sold at auction, with the most expensive fetching £3200 in May.

The values of whisky being bought and sold at auction have soared in recent years. According to the Rare Whisky Top 1000 index, the 1000 most collectable Scotch whiskies have increased in value by 250.8 per cent since December 31, 2008 to the end of June last year. In the last 12 months alone, values have gone up by more than 13 per cent.

Whisky from Scotland’s "silent" distilleries (those which are now closed), including the Brora distillery, have been particular beneficiaries of the boom in demand for rare whisky.

The Brora Distillery was built in 1819 and was known as "Clynelish" until the opening of the new Clynelish Distillery in 1968, whereupon the name of the original Clynelish was changed to "Brora". It closed in 1983.

David Robertson, co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, said: "Whisky from Scotland’s silent distilleries is undoubtedly in high demand at the moment.

"However, while many of these rare bottles are now being bought or sold for investment, collection, or purely just for drinking, there are still a huge number of bottles from these silent distilleries which are just gathering dust, with the owners unaware of the whisky’s value.

"We’re also confident that many of these bottles are most likely located in and around the communities from where these silent distilleries were based, such as Brora.

"We’d urge anyone who has got any old bottles from the Brora Distillery to get in touch with us and seek a valuation. They could be in for a very pleasant surprise."

Just like any other commercial activity, whisky-making is subject to highs and lows, periods of "boom" and "bust". Usually these periods coincide with wider economic prosperity or recession for the nations involved. So it is with Scotch whisky that unprecedented levels of growth in terms of distillery expansion and new-build ventures during the Victorian era were followed by half a century of "bust", or at best stagnation.

The whisky boom of the late 19th century saw no fewer than 33 new distilleries built across Scotland between 1890 and 1900, but the bubble burst around the turn of the century due to over-production.

Two world wars and global recession – The Great Depression – meant that no new distillery was constructed in Scotland between 1900 and 1949. However, the first four decades of the 20th century gave us a body of well-documented "silent distilleries" and the remnants of many remain today.

Anyone looking for a valuation on their whisky collection of individual bottles of whisky should visit

• The present Clynelish distillery is to close for ten months from April for extensive maintenance and upgrading work. The 14-strong workforce will still be employed during the closure period, and the visitor centre and shop, which attract thousands of tourists each year, will remain open.

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