SCOTT BASE, Antarctica – Three bottles of rare, 19th-century Scotch whisky found beneath the floor boards of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton's abandoned expedition base were returned to the polar continent today after a distiller flew them to Scotland to re-create the long-lost recipe.
The whisky will be transferred by March from Ross Island to Shackleton's desolate hut at Cape Royds and replaced beneath the restored hut as part of a program to protect the legacy of the so-called heroic era of Antarctic exploration from 1898 to 1915.
Bottled in 1898 after the blend was aged 15 years, the Mackinlay bottles were among three crates of Scotch and two of brandy buried beneath a basic hut Shackleton had used during his dramatic 1907 Nimrod excursion to the Antarctic. The expedition failed to reach the South Pole but set a record at the time for reaching the farthest southern latitude. Shackleton was knighted after his return to Great Britain.