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Anecdotes of Ages Collection

The River Spey

The iconic River Spey flows through the heart of Speyside and The Macallan Estate.

On the Border of The Macallan Estate

Each label of the 13 original bottles of the Anecdotes of Ages Collection details unique stories relating to The Macallan’s history, community, and the beautiful natural landscape of The Macallan Estate. On this bottle, Sir Peter Blake’s playful collage places a native red squirrel on the shoulder of our current Ghillie, Robert Mitchell.  

The construct reflects the man’s open affinity for riverbank wildlife as well as his guests when tending his enviable beat. In 1991, The Macallan became the sole Distillery in Scotland to own fishing rights on the Spey, perhaps the most richly storied salmon river in the world. Robert is a feast of fish tales.  

Anecdotes of Ages Collection The River Spey Label Designed by Sir Peter Blake

The Story Behind the Label

George Low was appointed the first ghillie after serving twenty-four years as a distillery mashman. A talented accordion and harmonica player, George took to his later role with proprietary zeal, developing The Macallan’s very own salmon fly whilst in post. Then, as now, a day by the river with such a knowledgeable companion was a rare and memorable experience.

The same should be said of the whisky in this bottle. The clear spring water for its specific mash was sourced in the same year that George Low first began work at The Macallan. From one of the curiously small stills (as permanent a feature at the Distillery as the Spey itself) the new make spirit would have been carefully syphoned into a European sherried oak cask, and left to mature for half a century.
The Macallan Anecdotes of Ages Collection The River Spey Photo by Mary McCartney
Held tight to the tweed of a ghillie’s coat, framed by Mary McCartney’s lens, this bottle is a paean to the River Spey.

Lead Whisky Maker Sarah Burgess’ selection was made after careful nosing, as she sought out richly evocative flavour notes to contribute character, depth and distinction to the proposed collaboration. A unique spirit, the familiar flavours are augmented by sensual notes exclusive to that outturn: strawberry, sweet oak, light nutmeg and warm chocolate.

The parallel between this single malt and the River Spey is too seductive to ignore. The whisky, like the river at any given moment, might appear constant and predictable, but each bottling is never quite the same as the one that flowed before. For this 1967 masterpiece, it’s a truth that can only add to its wonderful allure.

Rising high in Corrieyairack Forest of the Cairngorms mountain range..

A small stream marks the genesis of the Spey’s course, which leads to the sea at Moray Firth, passing through The Macallan Estate and under the Craigellachie bridge. The latter is an engineering marvel, famously constructed the year before the Battle of Waterloo.

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


Anecdotes of Ages Collection The River Spey Mood Shot bottle in front of box


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