It’s good news for a producer of alcoholic beverages that was given the go-ahead by the New Zealand government to go for the buried gold in the Antarctic. Gold that is in the color of Scotch whiskey that has been frozen on ice since 1909.
The lost cache was left by British polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton a century ago when he was forced to abandon his expedition.
The two crates of Scotch whiskey were shipped there by Shackleton, and were found under the floorboards of the Nimrod Expedition hut near Cape Royds by workers from New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust during restoration efforts in 2006.
The new expedition will be led by Al Fastier in January, who said when the crates and bottles were found, they were too deeply buried in the ice to be reached. This time they will use special drilling tools to reach the cache and remove a few bottles for testing. The remainder must stay where it is according to conservation guidelines that have been agreed upon by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations.
Fastier said he does not want to taste the chilly spirits, although Richard Paterson, White & Mackay’s master blender, said:
…the Shackleton expedition's whiskey could still be drinkable and taste exactly as it did 100 years ago.
"It's better to imagine it than to taste it," Fastier said. "That way it keeps its mystery."
The object is for White & Mackay, the group that now owns McKinlay whiskey, to test it to see if they want to re-establish the blend and start producing it again.
"I really hope we can get some back here," Paterson said "It's been laying there lonely and neglected. It should come back to Scotland where it was born.
"Even if most of the bottles have to remain in Antarctica for historic reasons, it would be good if we could get a couple."
A hundred years is a long time to wait for a good belt of Scotch, and only time will tell if it was worth the wait and the effort to reproduce it.