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Shackleton’s long-lost Scotch opens a door to the past

Five crates of whisky and brandy left behind by Sir Ernest Shackleton when he abandoned his Antarctic expedition in 1909 have been discovered under the ice.

A team from the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust, involved in resoration work on Shackleton’s hut in Cape Royds, discovered the crates.

“To our amazement we found five crates, three labelled as containing whisky and two labelled as containing brandy,” said Al Fastier of the Trust.

The brandy crates are labelled as coming from distillers Charles Mackinlay & Co and The Hunter Valley Distillery Limited Allandale.

The whisky was supplied by Scottish company Whyte and Mackay, whose master blender, Richard Paterson, described the find as “a gift from the heavens” for whisky lovers.

Although some of the crates had cracked and ice had formed inside, Fastier said that the smell of whisky and sound of liquid coming from inside was a good indication that some of the bottles were in good condition.

Paterson added: “If the contents can be confirmed, safely extracted and analysed, the original blend may be able to be replicated.

“Given the original recipe no longer exists this may open a door into history.”

In December of last year the Antarctic Heritage Trust also discovered two frozen blocks of butter near Captain Scott’s hut at Cape Evans.

Rupert Millar, 05.02.2010

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