Whyte & Mackay has successfully recreated the century-old whisky buried under the Antarctic ice by famous explorer Ernest Shackleton. The company’s master blender Richard Paterson spent a painstaking eight weeks marrying and blending a range of malts to get an exact replica of the 100-year-old Mackinlay’s liquid.
And according to one independent expert, he has got the copy exactly right. Renowned whisky writer Dave Broom is the only other person in the world to taste both the original whisky and Whyte & Mackay’s new liquid. “The Shackleton whisky is not what I expected at all, and not what anyone would have expected," says Broom. "It’s so light, so fresh, so delicate and still in one piece – it’s a gorgeous whisky. It proves that even way back then so much care, attention and thought went into whisky-making. I think the replication is absolutely bang on. Richard has done a great job as it’s a very tricky whisky to replicate, because you have this delicacy, subtlety and the smoke just coming through. The sweetness, fragrance and spice, and the subtle smoke, are all there in the replica. I’m blown away.”
Trust chief executive Nigel Watson said: “From start to finish it’s taken almost four years to safely extract the whisky crate from site and then Antarctica, thaw it in museum conditions, secure permits and complete scientific analysis in Scotland . I am delighted that Whyte & Mackay recognise the hard work and value of the Trust’s conservation mission in Antarctica by making this very generous and welcome donation.”
The first run of the replica Mackinlay’s sold out within a year and that success raised close to £250,000 for the AHT. The funds will be used for conservation and research, and a web based education programme about the great explorer.
The release of the new recreation is expected to raise a further £500,000 for the AHT.
Richard Paterson said that matching the whisky really tested his blending skills, but it was a true labour of love. “It was a real privilege getting to handle, nose and taste such a rare and beautiful bottle of whisky. The quality, purity and taste of this 100-year-old spirit was amazing. The biggest surprise was the light flavour and the clear, almost vibrant colour of the liquid. I hope I have done our forefathers and Ernest Shackleton proud with the replica.
The whole replication process has been documented exclusively for National Geographic Channel for a documentary that began airing at the end of 2011.
Colour – Light honey, straw gold with shimmering highlights.
Nose – Soft, elegant & refined. Delicate aromas of crushed apple, pear and fresh pineapple arouse the senses. The spirit is exciting and vibrant with attractive notes of oak shavings that release hints of buttery vanilla, creamy caramel and nutmeg. A whisper of marmalade, cinnamon and even a tease of smoke, ginger and muscovado sugar completes this spectrum of delight.
Taste – With a generous strength of 47.3% this gives the spirit plenty of impact on the palate but in a mild warming manner. Harmonious and exhilarating. Whispers of gentle bonfire smoke slowly give way to spicy rich toffee, treacle and pecan nuts. These enticing flavours linger lovingly on the palate but are soon combined by a sensual, complex array of creme brulee, orange rind and freshly baked bread. It is a remarkable tapestry of tantalising taste sensations which truly rewards the palate.
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