Herodotus Returns

Ernest Shackleton’s whiskey found in Antarctic
February 6, 2010, 6:23 pm
Filed under: Antarctica | Tags: , ,

Fascinating story from the Irish Times, reporting that a team of heritage restorers working on Antarctic pioneer Ernest Shackleton’s hut have found five crates of whiskey and brandy buried in the ice. Over a 100 years old, some of the bottles are broken, while others remain intact. Finding the whiskey stash of an epic Antarctic explorer has a kind of manly nostalgia to it, but it appears the discovery will have its practical benefits, too. Mackinlay & Co., the still-prominent whiskey company that made Shackleton’s whiskey 100 years before wants to run some tests on a sample in order to recover the recipe and re-release the blend. I have to say – I’d probably buy a bottle of Ernest Shackleton’s whiskey.

Mr Fastier said restoration workers found the crates under the hut’s floorboards in 2006, but they were too deeply embedded in ice to be dislodged. It was originally thought the haul consisted only of three crates of Scotch.

“The unexpected find of the brandy crates – one labelled Chas MacKinlay & Co and the other labelled The Hunter Valley Distillery Limited Allandale – is a real bonus,” Mr Fastier said.

Ice has cracked some of the bottles, but the restorers are confident the five crates contain intact bottles “given liquid can be heard when the crates are moved”.

“The smell of whisky in the surrounding ice before excavation commenced also indicated full bottles of spirits were inside, albeit that one or more might have broken,” he added.

Mr Fastier said ice had cracked some of the crates and formed inside them. This would make extracting the contents delicate, but the trust would decide how to do so in coming weeks.

Richard Paterson, master blender at Whyte & Mackay, whose company supplied the MacKinlay’s whisky for Shackleton, described the find as “a gift from the heavens” for whisky lovers.

More on Shackleton’s whiskey.