This is the story of two crates that never made their destination… It all began with Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874–1922), an Irish explorer who was one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.
Shackleton’s first experience of the polar regions was in 1901, but due problems with his health he was sent home early. Determined to make amends for this personal failure, he returned to Antarctica in 1907 as leader of the Nimrod Expedition. The mission was a success but something didn’t go as planned…
Shackleton wanted some whiskey to keep his crew and himself warm, but the two crates of McKinlay and Co. were lost during shipment. They never found it back until now.
Restoration workers found the crates of whiskey under the hut’s floorboards in 2006. At the time, the crates and bottles were too deeply embedded in ice to be dislodged. Whyte & Mackay, the drinks group that now owns McKinlay and Co. has decided to sent a team to dig out the two crates. Workers from New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust will use special drills to reach the crates, frozen in Antarctic ice under the Nimrod Expedition hut near Cape Royds.
The New Zealanders have agreed to try to retrieve some bottles, although the rest must stay under conservation guidelines agreed by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations.
According to Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay’s master blender, the Shackleton expedition’s whiskey could still be drinkable and taste exactly as it did 100 years ago. The New Zealanders have agreed with the Scottish Whiskey lovers, to give them some bottles. The rest of the crates must stay under conservation guidelines agreed by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations. “Even if most of the bottles have to remain in Antarctica for historic reasons, it would be good if we could get a couple,” Paterson said.
If the team can dig out the two crates, Whyte & Mackay will do a series of tests that could decide whether to relaunch the now-defunct scotch…
I’m asking myself: Is this a genious marketing-trick, or is is just coincidence? Because one way or another, they found a gold-mine.. If they find the two crates and make a new line of “Vintage Scottish Whiskey”, the Whiskey lovers will give all their money to taste it. Even I, as an amateur whiskey drinker would give all my money to taste some McKinlay and Co.
Because whiskey with a story just drinks better..