Thursday, February 11, 2010

Recovering Shackleton's Whiskey

In 1909, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and his companions were forced to abandon their attempt to reach the South Pole. In the process, they unknowingly left behind some major historical treasures.

The article Plan to recover two crates of Shackleton’s whisky buried in Antarctica has the details. The article notes, "Shackleton and his men were donated the crates of whisky as they set off for the South Pole in 1907. Severe weather conditions meant they had to be rescued two years later when just days away from reaching their target. All supplies were then left behind in their hut at Cape Royds including the two cases of whisky. The crates were discovered by polar explorers in January 2006, but couldn't be removed as they were too deeply embedded. However, the team going back to Antarctica next year has agreed to try to retrieve some bottles."

Is the whiskey drinkable?  Mr. Paterson (Whyte & Mackay's master blender) said Shackleton’s whisky could still be drinkable and taste exactly how it did 100 years ago, but conceded that the bottles could have been damaged due to the changing conditions in the Antarctic. Whyte & Mackay's is the brand of the whiskey and the recipe for this whiskey has been lost. Mr. Paterson is hoping some alcohol archaeology will help the company recover the blend.

Due to various treaties, it may be difficult to get the bottles out of Antarctica. I am hoping they have success. This seems like worthwhile history.

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