Whisky Named After Legendary Antarctic Explorer Debuts In U.S.

In 1907, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton set off on what would later be known as his second famous Antarctic expedition in which he attempted to reach the South Pole. As part of their supplies, his team brought along 25 cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky. Shackleton and his men reached 88 degrees south, further than his previous attempt, but still 97 miles short of the pole. Faced with disaster, Shackleton turned back, leading everyone in his crew home to safety even after their ship was lost to the ice. In the race for survival, supplies were left behind, including three cases of the whisky.

As the follow up story goes, and where the whisky comes into play again, is that a century or so later 11 intact bottles containing whisky were recovered from under the ice beneath Shackleton’s basecamp. Inspired by this whisky, master blender Richard Paterson created Shackleton Blended Malt Scotch Whisky. It is a blend of Highland single malts that have been married for an extended period of time in a combination of ex-bourbon American white oak barrels and Spanish Sherry butts to harmonize flavors.

This new Shackleton whisky is being brought to the United States by Whyte & Mackay, the world’s fifth largest producer of Scotch whisky. It is set to debut this month for around $35. Very limited official tasting notes suggest “a rich and robust whisky, which offers notes of vanilla, honey, ginger and liquorice, with a whisper of bonfire smoke.”

“This launch represents an exciting, emerging direction for Scotch whisky,” said Stuart Bertram, Head of Whisky Development Brands at Whyte & Mackay, in a prepared statement. “With the accessibility of a blend and the craft credentials of a malt, this unique, storied brand is set to bring a new group of whisky drinkers into scotch.”

About the author

Nino Marchetti

As the founder of The Whiskey Wash, I'm crazy about whiskey, I can tell you, and I aim to share this passion with you through this site. As for my professional background, I’m a writer and journalist by trade and an Internet dot-com veteran prior to that. My most recent venture prior to this was as the founder and editor-in-chief of EarthTechling, a leading consumer focused green technology news website. I also have an extensive collection of whiskies from both start up distilleries and centuries old operations in Scotland alike, sprinkled with some other odds and ends from around the world, that have provided me with a unique picture of what’s going on with this wonderful spirit.