Explorer's rare Scotch returned to Antarctic stash

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 19, 2013 at 6:34 am •  Published: January 19, 2013
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The bottles remained unopened as they were returned Saturday — if Shackelton couldn't have a dram, no one could — but their contents nevertheless formed the basis for a revival of the blend.

Distiller Whyte & Mackay, which now owns the Mackinlay brand, chartered a private jet to take the bottles from the Antarctic operations headquarters in the New Zealand city of Christchurch to Scotland for analysis in 2011.

The recipe for the whisky had been lost. But Whyte & Mackay recreated a limited edition of 50,000 bottles from a sample drawn with a syringe through a cork of one of the bottles. The conservation work of the Antarctic Heritage Trust has received 5 British pounds for every bottle sold.

The original bottles had flown in two combination-locked containers with Key to Antarctica in a U.S. Air Force transport plane from Christchurch on Friday.

Antarctic Heritage Trust manager Lizzie Meek, who was part of the team that found the whisky, recalled its pleasant aroma.

"When you're used to working around things in that hut that perhaps are quite decayed and some of them don't have very nice smells, it's very nice to work with artifacts that have such a lovely aroma," Meek told the ceremony by radio from explorer Robert Scott's Antarctic hut which she is restoring.

"And definitely the aroma of whisky was around very strongly."