Antarctic team's search for rare whisky

Last updated 07:22 16/11/2009

Relevant offers

A team of New Zealanders is preparing to drill in Antarctica in the New Year, and they hope to strike - whisky.

Among the supplies British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton abandoned on his unsuccessful 1909 expedition to the pole were two crates of the now extinct rare old brand of McKinlay and Co whisky.

Now Whyte & Mackay, the drinks giant that owns McKinlay and Co, has asked for a sample of the drink for a series of experiments, the Telegraph newspaper reported in London.

The New Zealanders will use special drills to free the trapped crates and rescue a bottle from the crates, discarded near the Cape Royds hut used by the Nimrod expedition, or at least draw off a sample using a syringe.

The crates were discovered in January 2006, but the bottle couldn't be removed as they were too deeply embedded.

Though the New Zealanders have agreed to try to retrieve some bottles, international protocols agreed by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations say the crates can only be taken off Antarctica for conservation reasons.

A programme manager with the Antarctic Heritage Trust, Al Fastier, who is leading the expedition to Cape Royds in January said he did not want to sample the contents.

He said: "It's better to imagine it than to taste it. That way it keeps its mystery".

The whisky was found under the floorboards of the hut while workers were clearing out a century's worth of ice.

Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay's master blender, has said that if he can get a sample, he intends to replicate the famous old whisky.

If the experiment is successful, original McKinlay whisky could be put back on sale.

"I really hope we can get some back here. It's been laying there lonely and neglected. It should come back to Scotland where it was born.

"Even if most of the bottles have to remain in Antarctica for historic reasons, it would be good if we could get a couple."

Mr Paterson said the Shackleton expedition's whisky could still be drinkable and taste exactly how it did 100 years ago.

Ad Feedback

- NZPA

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content

Quiz SMALL pointer June 26

Daily trivia fix

Is chess your forte?