We have to admit we love stories of ancient spirits (the drinking kind of spirits) being unearthed. There’s something remarkable about discovering a bottle of wine or whiskey from a couple of hundred of years ago, and finding it’s still in drinkable condition.
Here’s one of those such stories.
Recently the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust retrieved some whiskey left behind by explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team after their unsuccessful attempt to reach the South Pole. The expedition took place over 100 years ago – from 1907-1909.
Shackleton’s men left behind several cases of the whiskey less than 100 miles from the pole. It was preserved in the sub-zero temperatures, and recovered earlier this year.
Now curators at Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand, are thawing out one of the crates. The crate bears the label Mackinlay’s, a defunct brand of whiskey. Scottish drinks group Whyte & Mackay, which now owns the Mackinlay’s brand, launched the bid to recover the whisky for samples to test and potentially use to relaunch the now defunct Scotch.
The whisky may still be drinkable but would probably not be tasted.
The museum has started a blog called The Great Whiskey Crate Thaw so you can follow their progress.