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August 10, 2011

Online: Whisky on Ice

By Nick Fauchald | Spirits

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A truly aged spirit. Photo © The Whisky Exchange

In 1909, Ernest Shackleton canceled his Antarctic Nimrod expedition, turning back 112 miles short of the South Pole after running low on supplies. But it turns out he hadn't completely run out of the good stuff: In 2006, a team restoring the hut that served as Shackleton's base camp discovered three cases of Scotch whisky buried in the permafrost beneath the floorboards. The bottles were the remnants of 25 cases of "Rare and Old" whisky supplied to the expedition by MacKinlay & Company, a now-defunct distillery owned by Glasgow-based Whyte & Mackay. Five years later, Whyte & Mackay has recreated and released the blend under the label Rare Old-Highland Malt Whisky. Bottled at the same strength as the relic (47.3 percent ABV), the replica's surprisingly delicate profile is fruity on the nose, with flavors of nuts and toffee and a hint of smoke. The original whisky has been returned to its icy resting place, a permanent toast to the tireless explorer—and drinker. $140; enduringspirit.com.

A Departures.com archaeological find: Is Antarctica the last great frontier?

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