Updated: Jan 5
Always a lover of great stories and an occasional 'wee dram', the tale of The Shackleton Whisky is legendary. Not only of the Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Whisky, but the man himself, Sir Ernest Shackleton, that many simply referred to as 'The Boss' - an Explorer, a Leader, and without doubt, a LEGEND.
To bolster team spirit on his Antarctic expedition (Nimrod, 1907), Sir Ernest Shackleton personally ordered 25 cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky.
Then, in 2007, a century after the expedition, three cases of the perfectly preserved whisky were discovered, frozen into the ice beneath Shackleton’s base camp at Cape Royds.
The whisky was excavated and flown to New Zealand where it was carefully thawed by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust in a purpose-built environment and public gallery at Canterbury Museum.
It was with whisky that Sir Ernest brought his crew together to toast wives and sweethearts, celebrate birthdays, and above all foster a sense of team spirit that led them to succeed against the hardest of odds.
Royal Navy Toast: 'To absent wives and sweethearts' Response: 'and may they never meet!'
After its discovery frozen in the ice, world-renowned Master Blender, Richard Paterson, carried out painstaking analysis to re-create this antique whisky and used this as the foundation to create Shackleton – a modern Blended Malt with ice in its DNA.
This legend forms part of my third novel, Cold COURAGE that tells the tale of Shackleton's 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the Endurance, the Aurora, and the incredible story of two ships, both crews stranded on opposite sides of the frozen continent with only grit, determination, and survival, their chances of getting home.
Almost three years later, they did, and most of them went straight to war.