Search for “The Ultimate” taken to end of the Earth


The crate of Mackinlay's whisky (Photo: Antarctic Heritage Trust)


There was a news article recently which told of the find of a crate of 100-year old Scotch whisky. The reason that nobody had thought to open a bottle is that until now it’s been trapped in Antarctic ice.  A “souvenir” of Sir Ernest Shackelton’s 1907 Nimrod expedition.

It seems that these bottles of Mackinlay’s Scotch whisky were so well wrapped in paper and straw, that they survived the trip and being “stored” at -30°Celsius (-22°Fahrenheit). Although the Antarctic temperatures were not cold enough to freeze the actual whisky. It can be heard to be “sloshing around” inside the bottles!

The Canterbury Museum in Christchurch (New Zealand) has been slowly thawing out its find in the last couple of weeks.  So are they going to take a swig once the thawing process is complete? Oh no. They’re going to preserve the bottles and scotch “for their historical significance”.  In Shackelton’s hut. In the Antarctic. Which means, I guess, that the carefully unfrozen bottles will probably freeze again.

Whisky enthusiasts need not fear though. They are going to take some small samples (using a syringe through the bottles’ cork stoppers). These are then going to be analysed by master blenders, who are going to try and replicate the original recipe. Apparently this was lost when the Mackinlay’s  distillery was taken over.

And I thought I took the search for “The Ultimate” recipes to extremes . . . This takes the search literally to the end of the Earth!


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Categories: News, Science/Technology


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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