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Shackleton's Whisky

In January 2010 the Trust's team of conservators excavated five crates from beneath Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1908 base in Antarctica.  Three were labelled as containing Mackinlay's whisky and two labelled as containing brandy.

One of the whisky crates was flown back to New Zealand and in collaboration with Canterbury Museum, the crate was thawed and eleven whisky bottles revealed.

In January 2011 three of the bottles were flown to Whyte & Mackay (the owners of the Mackinlay's brand in Scotland) for scientific analysis.  Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay's master blender, recreated the century-old whisky, marrying and blending a range of malts to get an exact replica of the original enjoyed by Shackleton and his men 100 years ago. A percentage of sales will benefit the Trust's conservation programme in Antarctica.

In January 2013 New Zealand Prime Minister John Key returned the three bottles to the Trust in Antarctica.  The bottles were then conserved and returned to Ernest Shackleton's 1908 base, Cape Royds, Antarctica.

Read the summary of this remarkable story and the conservation of Shackleton's Antarctic expedition base.


Cape Royds hut


Related Articles

NZ Prime Minister repatriates century old whisky to the Trust (January 2013)

Whyte & Mackay Press Release (April 2011)

BBC News Scotland (January 2011)

NZAHT Press Release  (Aug 2010)

NZAHT Press Release (July 2010)

NZAHT Press Release (February 2010)


Read the whisky blog or watch a BBC clip about the whisky and the scientific process.

Read the story of the whisky . The discovery of Shackleton’s forgotten whisky inspired New Zealand author Neville Peat to embark on his own expedition of sorts, revisiting Shackleton’s first Antarctic expedition, the ‘heroic era’ of Antarctic exploration, and the craft and lore behind Scotland’s finest dram.


"I hope I have done our forefathers and Ernest Shackleton proud."

Richard Paterson, Master Blender, Whyte & Mackay.