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Edition No. 6

Guardian of the River Spey

E600CA23-A5CF-4F30-BC0F-7E8B830451E0@2x Jun 03 2021 · 4 min read

A day on the river – with its pure, clean water, stunningly wild landscape, calm silence and the power and strength of the Scottish salmon – is a once in a lifetime experience. Inspired by a day on the Spey, The Macallan Whisky Maker, Steven Bremner, created Edition No. 6 by choosing five cask styles that embody unique stories related to the river and its unparalleled natural landscape.

One of these stories draws on The Macallan Ghillie, Robert Mitchell. Robert has been The Macallan’s Ghillie for four years, and assists those who come to fish on the river. He is the guardian of The Macallan’s one-and-three-quarter mile stretch of the River Spey, and is an advocate for sustaining the wildlife in and around it. 


An admired member of The Macallan community on The Estate, Robert is a central character in the story of Edition No. 6. His warm, welcoming personality is represented by the European oak hogsheads, which are bursting with sweet and spicy flavours and help to build a connection between the American and European oak styles.

A day on the River Spey is supremely special. You feel that you are escaping from everything and truly connecting with nature and with our Distillery completing this stunning landscape, there is no other place in the world capable of drawing so many wonders together.

Robert Mitchell, The Macallan Ghillie

Catch and Release

The River Spey is recognised as one of the finest fly-fishing rivers in Europe and attracts fishermen from across the globe. The Macallan beat has stunning surroundings where, on special occasions, guests can enjoy one of the world’s greatest rivers. There is even a particular fishing fly cast known as the ‘Spey cast’, which was developed on this legendary river. 


On the Beat

During the fishing season, under the expert eye of The Macallan’s Ghillie, Robert Mitchell, a fortunate few can test their skills on the river in the hope of catching – and releasing – wild Atlantic salmon using Hardy’s incomparable tackle. They are taking part in a centuries old practice, but with an awareness and respect for the life that makes its home in the river beyond the water’s edge. 

Wild Atlantic salmon are at risk of becoming an endangered species. Therefore The Macallan are working with the Atlantic Salmon Trust to help raise awareness of this, and to support vital conservation work on the River Spey and beyond.  

Learn More

As custodians of the River Spey, The Macallan has set a 100% return of its fish to the river. All fishing on The Estate is, and always will be, catch and release, and all fish are treated with the utmost respect and care during that time. 

Alongside this, we are supporting The Atlantic Salmon Trust’s vital conservation work in the River Spey and beyond. The funding is being used for the Moray Firth Tracking Project, which aims to find out where and why Atlantic salmon are dying in their oceanic migration, as well as for other international outreach projects.

Robert Mitchell

Custodian of the River Spey

Born in the town of Elgin, Robert grew up in Speyside spending his days outdoors. Surrounded by nature was a way of life. Robert’s great uncle was a ghillie and from a very young age Robert dreamt of becoming a ghillie himself.

In 1995 Robert began his 25-year career as the ghillie at the 22,000 acre Tulchan Estate. Also located on the River Spey, this sporting Estate was located a short distance from The Macallan Estate and Robert always had aspirations of becoming a ghillie on this part of the river one day, as he was drawn to the truly unique distillery. In 2015, Robert achieved this lifelong dream when he was appointed as The Macallan Ghillie.

As The Macallan Ghillie, Robert takes great pride in preserving one of Scotland’s most legendary rivers renowned across the globe as a home to the mighty Atlantic salmon. He regularly hosts guests from around the world who visit The Estate for the magical experience of fishing on the River Spey amidst the scenic natural landscape. It is his job to help create moments and memories to last a lifetime.

As an admired member of The Macallan community on The Estate, Robert is a central character in the story of The Macallan Edition No.6 single malt whisky, which is inspired by the River Spey and its unparalleled natural landscape.

Inspiration and Excellence

As part of the inspiration for cask styles used in creating Edition No. 6, The Macallan Whisky Maker Steven Bremner looked to celebrated fly-fishing brand Hardy. The European oak butts and hogsheads deliver the classic notes of dried fruits, ginger and oak synonymous with The Macallan, and were particularly selected to honour Hardy, the world’s most renowned fly-fishing brand. 


Fishing Terms

Ghillie – (Scottish English) a person who helps somebody who is fishing for sport in Scotland.

Fly fishing – the sport of fishing in a river or lake using an artificial fly at the end of the line to attract and catch the fish.

Fishing beat – An individual stretch of a salmon fishing river in Scotland, where fishing rights are owned by the landowner of the land adjacent to the river. All salmon fishing rivers in Scotland are divided into beats of around two or three miles long.

Tight lines – a fishing term used to describe when someone is hooked up with a fish i.e. the line is tight between them and the fish. The phrase is also used as a salutation, greeting, or wish for good luck between fishermen as by keeping the lines tight, it indicates that they are catching lots of fish.

The Final Edition

The Edition Series explores the unique and defining elements that make The Macallan one of the world’s most revered single malts. Through these whiskies we have been able to explore the detail of our whisky making, offering true transparency and showcasing the skill of our Whisky Mastery Team.

As the sixth and final release in this series, Edition No. 6 showcases The Macallan’s intrinsic connection with nature and pays homage to the legendary River Spey through these tales of the river.


Edition No. 6

This unique single malt delivers a multifaceted experience; from the appealing rich brass natural colour, to the layers of aroma including rich fresh fruits, nutmeg, ginger, chocolate, toffee, vanilla, and oak.

On the palate are notes of plum and sweet orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, balanced oak, toffee, and oats. The finish is long, with fresh fruit and spices turning to creamy chocolate and toasted oats.

Discover More

The Edition Series

Natural Expressions

Sustaining the Future