In Search of Shackleton’s Whiskey!

Some people will go a long way for a stiff drink. The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust has announced plans to recover two cases of McKinlay and Co whiskey that have been encased in ice in the Antarctica for more than 100 years. They were left there by famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton on one of his failed attempts to reach the South Pole at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Back in 1907, Shackleton was one of the top polar explorers on the planet, and was embroiled in a race to become the first man to reach the South Pole. He got within 97 miles of his goal before deciding to turn back, leaving behind an assortment of gear and equipment, including the whisky. That gear and the booze were rediscovered three years ago, but there has been no attempts to actually recover it until now.

The Antarctic Heritage Trust will try to cut through the ice and get to the two cases, then bring it home to be examined, and have the bottles restored, before returning them to Shackleton’s hut located at Cape Royds. The hut is undergoing restorations itself, as the Trust attempts to put it back to exactly the way it was when Shackleton set out on his journey a century ago.

The AHT isn’t the only ones who are interested in getting their hands on a bottle however, as distillers Whyte and Mackay, who now produce the McKinlay brand, are hoping that at least a sample will be sent their way. This particular blend isn’t produced any more, and they would like to recreate it if possible. I’m sure they’ll sell a ton back in the U.K. marketing as the drink that Shackleton sailed with. It also makes it easier to understand how the Endurance survived all those months in the ice! 😉

Seriously though, will this stuff have aged to perfection? Lord knows it should be plenty chilled by now!

Kraig Becker

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