I love a spirit with a story, and Shackleton Whisky is a cracker.
It all started in 1907 when the Polar Explorer, Ernest Shackleton launched his bid to be the first person to reach the Geographic South Pole. The trip, known as ‘Nimrod’ was in part a success, but Shackleton abandoned it with just 97 nautical miles to go. Although he didn’t succeed, Shackleton returned to Britain a hero.
Fast forward to 2010 when the Antarctic Heritage Trust in New Zealand began to restore his abandoned base camp. Conservators found five crates under the ice. Three contained Mackinlay’s whisky and two contained brandy. Eleven bottles of the 114-year old whisky were still in their paper and straw packaging, albeit frozen.
Three bottles were flown from New Zealand, to undergo both sensory and organoleptic analysis.
In April 2011, Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay’s Master Blender, replicated the century-old whisky and gave it the same name as the original, Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt and The Journey, was released soon after. Now, a no-age-statement blend, inspired by Shackleton and his love of Mackinlay’s Scotch. A small percentage of each sale goes directly to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.
Tim Jarvis is the global brand ambassador for Shackleton Whisky. In 2013 the environmental explorer and motivational speaker recreated Shackleton’s dangerous 1914-17 Trans-Antarctic Expedition – known as one of the greatest small-boat journeys undertaken.
The whisky is a mix of single Highland malts, stored in ex-bourbon barrels and Spanish sherry butts. And, for £40 for a litre bottle, I think you’re getting a lot for your money. It’s a tasty number. On the nose, you get hints of demerara sugar and malted cinnamon. On the palate, it’s orange, apple and honey. It’s a short finish with hints of Werther’s Originals and marmalade.
I have a thing for whisky, take a look at my visit to Islay.