Shackleton’s Whisky Dug Up in Antarctica
Richard Paterson, a master blender for Whyte & Mackay, which supplied the Shackleton expedition with 25 crates of Mackinlay’s “Rare and Old” whisky, described the unearthing of the bottles as “a gift from the heavens for whisky lovers,” since the recipe for that blend has been lost. “If the contents can be confirmed, safely extracted and analyzed, the original blend may be able to be replicated.” Mr. Paterson addressed the question of what the whisky might taste like in a post on his blog when the plan to dig it up was first announced, last year:
Whiskies back then — a harder age — were all quite heavy and peaty as that was the style. And depending on the storage conditions, it may still have that heaviness. For example, it may taste the same as it did back then if the cork has stayed in the bottle and kept it airtight.
But if the whisky is on its side, the cork may have been eroded by the whisky or air may have got in some other way — especially if the corks have been contracting and expanding with the temperature changes over the years.
The trust’s Web site has a detailed history of the failed expedition, as well as this video on its efforts to preserve the hut built as a base for the Shackleton expedition at Cape Royds, Antarctica, in 1908: