Whisky on the rocks, for more than 100 years

By Stephen McGinty - News Scotsman


For those who like their dram chilled, it's perfect. A whisky that sustained explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated expedition to the South Pole a century ago has been drilled out of the Antarctic ice.

Five crates buried under ice have been recovered by a heritage team restoring the explorer's hut. Al Fastier, the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust team leader, yesterday said he believes some bottles are still intact.

The whisky was made by McKinlay and Co, and drinks group Whyte & Mackay has asked for a sample to carry out tests with a view to re-launching the brand. 

Although ice cracked some of the bottles, which had been left there in 1909, the restorers said they are confident the five crates contain intact bottles "given liquid can be heard when the crates are moved".

Mr Fastier said the team thought there were two whisky and brandy crates and were amazed to find five. Restoration workers found the crates under the hut's floorboards in 2006, but they were too deeply embedded in ice to be dislodged.

The New Zealanders agreed to drill the ice to try to retrieve some bottles, although the rest must stay under conservation guidelines agreed to by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations.


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Antarctic ice whiskey Sir Ernest Shackleton South Pole Mackinlay and Co New Zealand explorers