Thursday, June 16, 2011

History: Shackleton's Whisky

In 1907 Ernest Shackleton and a team of hearty explorers set out to find the South Pole in one of the most aptly named ships since Captain Franklin’s Terror. The Endurance made it to Antarctica but was trapped in the ice, crushed and sunk. Shackleton and his team hauled their gear back to the ocean and managed to make it to an unpopulated island aboard an ice flow. Most of Endurance’s crew made it home in 1908 thanks to their ingenuity and guts.

Since the 100 year anniversary of the voyage, the Antarctic Heritage Trust has been excavating items left behind by Shackleton and his men. One such, perhaps surprisingly, was five crates of MacKinlay whisky. Now, according to this article from BBC online, the whisky has been recreated by the original distiller and will be sold in limited addition to benefit the Heritage Trust’s ongoing research.

Whyte & Mackay (find them here), the current owners of the MacKinlay imprint, received samples of the whisky at their Invergordon distillery. Last April, they had copied it exactly and the Shackleton whisky was made available for tasting. According to the article, Dave Broom holds the coveted occupation of whisky writer and has tasted both the original whisky and the modern copy. He says:

[The Shackleton whisky] is so light, so fresh, so delicate and still in one piece – it’s a gorgeous whisky.

High praise from a gentleman who clearly knows what he’s talking about.

Whyte & Mackay have plans to sell approximately 50,000 bottles at 100 pounds (about 160 U.S. dollars) a piece. As noted, a percentage of that will go to the Antarctic Heritage Trust to fund continuing work. Something to think about while you make out your holiday shopping list; as Shackleton proved, it never hurts to plan ahead.

Header: Photo of HMS Endurance in Antarctic ice via the British Museum


Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! Nice. Probably too late for Father's Day, I guess...

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy! Well, yeah. Unless you live in Scotland. But then I think it's a different day...