Whisky Focus - New Zealand Prime Minister repatriates ‘Shackleton’s whisky’ to Antarctica

New Zealand Prime Minister Repatriates ‘Shackleton’s Whisky’

20th January 2013
New Zealand Prime Minister repatriates ‘Shackleton’s whisky’ to Antarctica.

Yesterday, (Saturday 20 January 2013 New Zealand time) New Zealand Prime Minister John Key returned 3 bottles of more than 100 year old whisky to the Antarctic Heritage Trust in Antarctica. The 3 bottles are from whisky crates excavated from under explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s only Antarctic expedition base by Trust conservators in 2010.

The Prime Minister handed the whisky over to Antarctic Heritage Trust Trustee Rob Fenwick. The bottles will then be entrusted to Lizzie Meek, Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Programme Manager – Artefacts. The Trust cares for the whisky, as well as thousands of objects left in the expedition bases by the early Antarctic explorers.

The handover marks part of the final stage in a remarkable journey. After excavating the whisky one crate was flown to Canterbury Museum, New Zealand under permit from the New Zealand Government and thawed by Programme Manager Lizzie Meek, revealing eleven bottles of Mackinlay’s whisky.

Three bottles were then sent to Scotland for scientific analysis by Whyte & Mackay, (owner of the Mackinlay’s brand) and The Scotch Whisky Institute. The whisky provided a unique opportunity to apply modern sensory and chemical analytical methods to establish the flavour and composition of a product manufactured more than one hundred years ago.

Whyte & Mackay’s Master Blender, Richard Paterson, then used his unique nosing and tasting skills to create an exact replica of the whisky. This whisky, which has been sold around the world, has gone on to raise over £250,000 to fund various Antarctic Heritage Trust projects, including the preservation of Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition base.

Repatriating the whisky back to Antarctica fulfils the permit conditions issued by the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs to remove, analyse and return the whisky.

The whisky travelled to Antarctica on Thursday 17 January 2013. The handover took place in the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s conservation lab at New Zealand’s Scott Base where the Trust’s team of conservators work over winter, conserving the explorers’ clothing, equipment, tinned goods and personal items.

Once conservation is complete at Scott Base the 3 crates will be returned to Ernest Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1910 base at Cape Royds, Antarctica.

Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay Master Blender said "Having the chance to analyse and taste a whisky that is over 100 years old has undoubtedly been the highlight of my career. The whole process – from discovery to excavation to recreation and now repatriation - has taken 5 years but it’s been well worth it!

"And as we come full circle in the original whisky’s journey, I’m pleased that the pioneering spirit of Shackleton will live on through the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s research, books, stories and of course the whisky! It is indeed an enduring spirit."

Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt Tasting Notes

The replica Shackleton Discovery Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt is a blended malt containing whisky from a range of Highland malts, including Glen Mhor, which was the original Mackinlay’s distillery before it closed in 1983.

Limited to 50,000 bottles, it was bottled at 47.3% ABV, is non chill-filtered and has had no added caramel colouring (Just how we like it). It comes in a replica bottle and wooden box.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Colour: Pale gold.

Nose: Spicy oak, fresh fruit green apples, pear drops, smooth malty cereal, vanilla, hint of orange zest and a whisper of smoke.

Taste: Loads going on here, rich creamy toffee, vanilla, a bit of orange zest, hazelnuts, a little sprinkling of pepper, old and new oak spices and a lovely very light touch of smoke is always lingering in the background

Finish: Long and rich with drying oak spices, creamy toffee and the slightest hint of smoke.

Comment: No wonder Ernest Shackleton choose Mackinlay's whisky to take with him to the South Pole. This shows just how special a blended malt whisky can be, it is a very high quality blended malt whisky and very easy to drink. Richer than the colour lets on. Loved it!

The first run of the replica Mackinlay’s sold out within a year and that success raised close to £250,000 for the Antarctic Heritage Trust (AHT). Therefore On October 26th 2012, a second edition of the Shackleton's Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt was launched. The second edition, known as Shackleton's Journey - Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt, was inspired by 2013's Shackleton Epic expedition, retracing the steps of Sir Ernest and crew during part of their Endurance expedition, the new Mackinlay's Shackleton 2nd edition recreation is expected to raise a further £500,000 for the AHT.

You will find both the Shackleton Discovery and Shackleton Discovery Journey currently available from The Whisky Exchange while stocks last.

Where To Buy Shackleton's Mackinlay's Whisky Online

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