Whiskey Windfall

From the ice outside Shackleton’s Antarctic hut a team from the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust have found three cases of Chas Mackinlay & Co’s whisky and two containing brandy made by the Hunter Valley Distillery Limited, Allandale abandoned during the explorer’s 197 abortive expedition to the South Pole. Team leader Al Fastier said restoration workers found the crates under the hut’s floorboards in 26, but they were too deeply embedded in ice to be dislodged. The New Zealanders agreed to drill the ice to try to retrieve some bottles, although the rest must stay under conservation guidelines agreed to by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations. Anything related to Shackleton’s attempt to reach the Pole is as steeped in emotive significance as the ice which surrounded the cases was in whisky. To find the actual whisky favoured by this ultimate man’s man is one thing, to taste the essence of death-defying, pipe-smoking, god-among-men masculinity will be quite another. Extracting the whisky may not be as simple as it sounds as inevitably ice has got into the cases and broken at least some of the bottles, and if the corks have come into contact with the alcohol they will have degenerated. Hopes are high however as liquid can be heard sloshing about inside the boxes and the steady, if chilly, temperature should have helped to preserve the spirit. 


Tags: Antarctica  Ernest Shackleton  Guardian (The)  

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