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Anecdotes of Ages Collection

A Licence to Distil

Alexander Reid, an English teacher turned tenant farmer, was granted a distilling licence in 1824.

In the Year 1824...

Each unique label on one of these 13 original bottles details significant stories relating to our history, community, and The Macallan Estate.

On his seven-acre holding, rented from the Earl of Seafield’s Estate, one can still see the fields of the Estate to this day, but we will never catch sight of Reid.  No likeness was ever recorded. His face remains a mystery. Nevertheless, his legacy endures with the whisky he created, now celebrated the world over.

1824 was also eventful elsewhere. English armies ground away at wars in Ghana and Burma. Beethoven’s Choral Symphony premiered in Vienna. Progress (of a sort) marched the British Empire towards an embrace of industrial technology. Closer to home, in Edinburgh, the first municipal fire brigade of George IV’s entire kingdom was established. 

Anecdotes of Ages Collection A Licence to Distil Label Designed by Sir Peter Blake

The Story behind the label

With this label, Sir Peter Blake’s take on that year brings one of Edinburgh’s horse-drawn fire engines into the picture, symbolic of an achievement to pair with Alexander Reid’s. While more than a century would pass before anything resembling modern industrial practice arrived at The Macallan, the creation of the Distillery was welcome news.

Reid’s whisky was admired from the outset. The Reverend Gordon, vicar of the local Parish Church, was delighted with a very different spirit from the one his vocation exalted, noting its “superior quality”.

The sheep included in the image is testament to flocks farmed at Easter Elchies since 1543.

As for the whisky itself, it was distilled in 1967, coincidentally, in Chinese chronology, the Year of the Ram.

From the same zodiac, characters born that year are said to be ‘mellow’ and ‘docile’, with an attributed element of ‘fire’.
The Macallan Anecdotes of Ages Collection A Licence to Distil Photo by Mary McCartney

On The Macallan Estate

This precious liquid selected by Sarah Burgess, presents rewardingly complex, exotic, fruited and light spice notes.

Captured by Mary McCartney, in the whorl of a tree with the snap of her lens, it is one of thirteen unique bottles around which art, history and great dedication have been wrapped in the most remarkable collaboration.

The Experience

  • Colour

    Caramelised peach

  • Nose

    Classic antique oak, dried fruit and fig combined with hints of pineapple and mango layered with a decadent chocolate strawberry note

  • Palate

    Warm chocolate with light nutmeg and ginger, oak spices and sweet oak opening into pineapple and coconut with an unexpected strawberry and hazelnut burst

  • Finish

    Complex with a medium to long finish of chocolate, sweet oak and lightly spiced peach

  • ABV


The Macallan Anecdotes of Ages Collection A Licence to Distil Mood Shot angled


The outer box for these special whiskies has been modelled on Sir Peter Blake’s own traditional art supply box, bringing together the world of art and whisky. A squirrel is laser etched on a removable panel, revealing a thumbnail photography collage documenting Sir Peter’s journey with The Macallan for the creation of this collection. 

On the side a sliding drawer features Sir Peter’s signature laser etched into the oak. Within is a leather bound book sustainably sourced in Scotland, revealing the 13 unique stories behind the full Anecdotes of Ages Collection.  

Anecdotes of Ages

Paying Homage to the Past

Anecdotes of Ages

In Collaboration with Sir Peter Blake