Whisky Left by Explorer in Antarctica Retrieved


By William Stolerman

Three crates of whisky belonging to the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton have finally been recovered from his hut in Antarctica. They were abandoned in 1909 and could prove to be the most sought after bottles of Scotch the world has ever seen.

First found back in 2006, a team from the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust have now extracted five cases from the hut (below). Three contained Chas Mackinlay & Co's "Rare and Old" whisky while the other two house brandy made by the Hunter Valley Distillery Limited, Allandale (Australia).

Shackleton's doomed attempt to reach the South Pole in 1907 is a part of folklore, so the significance of the collection far exceeds the actual contents.

Furthermore, extracting the actual liquid could prove difficult. Unsurprisingly ice has made its way into a few of the bottles and they've subsequently shattered. Meanwhile if the corks have been in contact with the whisky, the flavour would be dreadful.

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Despite these concerns liquid can still be heard sloshing about inside the boxes and while the bitterly cold temperature will have put paid to some of the bottles, for others it should have helped preserve the spirit.

Richard Paterson, the master blender of Whyte & Mackay (who bought the Mackinlay's distillery) described the find as: "a gift from the heavens" since the original recipe

for that blend had been lost. He said: “If the contents can be confirmed, safely extracted and analyzed, the original blend may be able to be replicated.”

Whisky lovers are therefore hoping that the heritage regulations will allow a sample to return home to Scotland so the lost blend can be recreated. As far as taste is concerned, Paterson said: "Whiskies back then - a harder age – were all quite heavy and peaty as that was the style." Harder indeed, after all it was Shackleton's (below) tipple.

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If one of those bottles ever finds its way onto the private market – what a sale that would be.

Via [guardian] & [nytimes]



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