January 20, 2013
Shackleton’s Scotch Being Returned To Base In Antarctica
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Three bottles of 100-year-old whisky that had been discovered under the floorboards of Ernest Shackleton´s abandoned expedition base in Antarctica were handed over to officials at Scott Base in New Zealand on Saturday, as they continue their journey back to the remote cabin where they were originally found.
According to Sky News Australia, the bottles in question contained Scotch donated to Shackleton´s British Antarctic Expedition between 1907 and 1910. They were part of five cases of alcoholic beverages that had been located three years ago — 102 years after the famed explorer was forced to leave them behind after abandoning his quest to reach the South Pole.
“The three cases of whisky and two cases of brandy, the bottles encased in ice, were discovered“¦ by conservators trying to preserve Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds,” the news agency said. “Three bottles were sent back to the original distillers, Whyte and Mackay, in Scotland, where they were analyzed and the whisky recreated.”
They will be transferred from Scott Base, located on Ross Island in the Antarctic, to Cape Royds by March, where they will be returned to their original home underneath the cabin´s floorboards, the Associated Press (AP) reports. The decision to replace the whisky comes as “part of a program to protect the legacy of the so-called heroic era of Antarctic exploration from 1898 to 1915,” the wire service added.
The Scotch had been bottled in 1898 after it had been allowed to age a decade and a half, the AP said. It, along with the brandy also donated to Shackleton, had been buried beneath the hut used by the explorer during his 1907 Nimrod expedition. While he and his associates failed to reach their destination, they did set a record for the time for traveling to the farthest southern latitude ever recorded.
When the crates were discovered in 2010, they were reportedly frozen solid after spending more than a century buried beneath the hut, the AP reported. However, “the bottles were found intact, and researchers could hear the whisky sloshing inside. Antarctica´s minus 22 temperature was not enough to freeze the liquor,” they added.
After being removed from the ice, the Scotch was defrosted at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch on New Zealand´s South Island. Previous reports had confirmed that the original recipe for the brew had been lost, which is why samples had been returned to Whyte and Mackay so that they could attempt to re-create it.