Shackleton’s expedition ran short of supplies on their long trek to the South Pole from Cape Royds in 1907-1909 and they eventually fell about 100 miles (160 kilometres) short of their goal. The men evacuated hurriedly from Cape Royds in 1909 as winter ice began forming in the sea.
In January 2006 The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust foundÂ several cases of spirits lodged in the ice under Shackleton’s hut. After further investigation, three of the cases were found to contain Chas Mackinlay & Co’s whisky, with the remaining two housing an Australian brandy made in Hunter Valley. Over the course of 2010 the cases were painstakingly extracted from beneath the hut and one of the whisky cases was carefully thawed by a team of specialists at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand. The historic Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt brand is now owned by Whyte & Mackay, who acquired it as part of Invergordon Distillers in 1995.
Richard Paterson, master blender at Whyte and Mackay, described the find as “a gift from the heavens” for whisky lovers, and has analysed the whisky after extracting small samples from the bottles with a syringe. The bottles have since been returned to New Zealand to be restored to their resting place in the ice underneath Shackleton’s hut, while Whyte & Mackay have rushed out a tribute bottling of Mackinlay’s, in a strictly limited edition (?) of 50,000 bottles.
Mackinlay’s Shackleton Replica “Rare Old Highland Malt” (1907), 47.3%, bottled by Whyte and MacKay, 2011, vatted malt, 50000 bottles, recommended retail price €130,-