Two years ago, three bottles of whisky were recovered from the base camp Sir Ernest Shackleton used during his British Antarctic Expedition (1907 – 1909). Shackleton and his team approached to within ~100 miles of the South Pole and turned back after Shackelton decided it would be too risky to continue. Two years later Captain Robert Scott’s Terra Nova expedition would return to successfully reach the South Pole (although they were beaten by a month by Norwegian Roald Amundsen), but perished on the return journey. Shackleton had been on Captain Scott’s Discovery Expedition in 1904 and later returned to the South Pole as commander of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914 – 1917). The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition is most famous for the loss of the ship Endurance and the subsequent account of the travails of the crew.
Fast-forward to 2010 and the recovery of the three bottles of whisky by the Antarctic History Trust. Although the whisky was not frozen due to its alcohol content, the bottles were slowly thawed in a New Zealand conservation lab. In 2011, they were then turned over to Whyte & Mackay, the distillery that succeeded the originally producer of the whisky. Using a painstaking process chronicled here and here, scientists at Whyte & Mackay discerned the whisky’s recipe and the distillery has released a limited run of 50,000 bottles of the whisky for sale.