Whisky rescued from ice may be kept in NZ

A crate of what may be the world's oldest and most valuable Scotch whisky may find a new home in New Zealand but it is unlikely to go through the taste test.

The 115-year-old Mackinlay's whisky attracted wide attention after it was found embedded in a solid block of ice under the floor of British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic hut in 2006.

Two other crates of whisky and two crates of brandy were also under the hut, at Cape Royds on Ross Island near McMurdo Sound.

While the crates were frozen solid when they were found, the whisky could be heard sloshing around inside.

Shackleton took the whisky and brandy with him on his 1907 expedition. It was thought to have been produced in 1896 or 1897 by Mackinlay's distillery, now owned by Whyte and Mackay.

One crate was brought back to New Zealand last year and slowly thawed. Three bottles were taken to Whyte and Mackay's distillery in Scotland last month. Nigel Watson, director of the Antarctic Heritage Trust in Christchurch, said the original plan was to take the crate, which contained only 11 bottles, back to Shackleton's hut once it had been analysed to further the scientific and conservation knowledge of the century-old whisky.

However, Mr Watson said depending on what the scientific analysis produced in Scotland, the whisky may find a new home here.

He said it was not practical to put the whisky back under the floor of the hut.

But if it stayed here it would not be consumed.

"We would not have any intention of trying to sell this whisky."

Australian experts believe it could be worth $90,000 a bottle.

Mr Watson said the global interest in the whisky had been huge. The original recipe for the whisky had been lost and Mr Watson said part of the testing may be to replicate it with a new whisky.

- NZPA [NZ Herald]


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