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Century-old Shackleton whisky replicated

Whyte & Mackay master blender Richard Paterson has recreated the century-old Mackinlay’s whisky buried under the Antarctic ice by explorer Ernest Shackleton

The Shackleton replica will cost £100, with 5% from every sale being donated to the Antarctic Heritage Trust, the New Zealand charity responsible for finding and uncovering the original whisky. If all 50,000 bottles sell out the Trust will receive £250,000.

Paterson said matching the whisky really tested his blending skills, but it was a true labour of love. “It was a real privilege getting to handle, nose and taste such a rare and beautiful bottle of whisky. The quality, purity and taste of this 100-year-old spirit is amazing. The biggest surprise was the light flavour and the clear, almost vibrant colour of the liquid. I hope I have done our forefathers and Ernest Shackleton proud with the replica.

The whole replication process has been documented exclusively for National Geographic Channel for a documentary due to air at the end of this year.

About the replica
The replica Mackinlay contains whisky from a range of highland malts, including Glen Mhor, which was the original Mackinlay’s distillery before it closed in 1983. The 47.3% ABV whisky has a light honey and straw gold colour with shimmering highlights. The nose is soft, elegant and refined with delicate aromas of crushed apple, pear and fresh pineapple. It has a whisper of marmalade, cinnamon and a tease of smoke, ginger and muscovado sugar. The generous strength of the 47.3% whisky, believed to be high to stop the alcohol freezing, gives plenty of impact, but in a mild and warming way. It has whispers of gentle bonfire smoke slowly giving way to spicy rich toffee, treacle and pecan nuts.

About the original
Three bottles of the original Shackleton whisky were flown by private plane from New Zealand to Whyte & Mackay’s Glasgow base by the company owner Dr Vijay Mallya. There were three cases of whisky and two cases of brandy found on the Antarctic in 2007. One case was removed from the ice and thawed out under laboratory. That one case was found to have only 11 bottles instead of the usual 12, leading to much speculation about what happened to the missing bottle.

1 April 2011 - Felicity Murray