WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) This Scotch has been on the rocks for a century.
Ice cracked some of the bottles that had been left there in 1909, but the restorers said Friday they are confident the five crates contain intact bottles “given liquid can be heard when the crates are moved.”
New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust team leader Al Fastier said the team thought there were two crates and were amazed to find five.
Current distillery owner, drinks group Whyte & Mackay, launched the bid to recover the Scotch whisky for samples to test and decide whether to relaunch the defunct spirit made by distiller McKinlay and Co.
Fastier said restoration workers found the crates under the hut’s floorboards in 2006, but they were too deeply embedded in ice to be dislodged.
The New Zealanders agreed to drill the ice to try to retrieve some bottles, although the rest must stay under conservation guidelines agreed to by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations.
“The unexpected find of the brandy crates, one labeled Chas. Mackinlay & Co and the other labeled The Hunter Valley Distillery Limited Allandale (Australia) are a real bonus,” said Fastier.
Ice has cracked some of the crates and formed inside them. Fastier said in a statement that would make extracting the contents delicate, but the trust would decide how to do so in coming weeks.
Richard Paterson, master blender at Whyte and Mackay, whose company supplied the Mackinlay’s whisky for Shackleton, described the find as “a gift from the heavens for whisky lovers.”