Whisky Stash Returned After 100 Years Frozen in Antarctica

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Ian Chang, a blender for Kavalan Whisky, walks past barrels inside an aging warehouse and distillery in Ilan, Taiwan, February 9, 2010 (REUTERS / Nicky Loh)

Sir Ernest Shackleton evidently thought that if he was going to be exploring one of the coldest places on earth, he should bring some whisky to keep warm.

Three bottles of Macklinay’s whisky were returned to Scotland, after spending over a century in Antarctica. They were found beneath Shackleton’s hut, erected in 1908 while he was exploring the world’s coldest and driest continent. Now, that’s a cellar.

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The wooden crate container was frozen, but amazingly, even after more than a century, the whisky remained liquid. More crates of whisky and brandy were found embedded in the ice: Shackleton apparently did not want to be without his spirits.

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Whyte and Mackay, who owns Macklinay, will analyze the whisky to see how well the alcohol has held up. The Macklinay bottles are thought to have been bottled in 1896 or 1897, making it one of the oldest in the world and a serious collector’s item for the whisky aficionado.

Whyte and Mackay’s own owner, Vijay Mallya, personally collected the bottles and accompanied the valuable bottles back to Scotland. The bottles will go through six weeks of testing and tasting to see how well they’ve fared. It’s a fair bet there won’t be a shortage of volunteers.