My favorite Christmas present this year was a bottle of scotch. Cindy procured a bottle of the recreated 1907 scotch whisky from the ill-fated Shackleton expedition to the South Pole from 1907-1909. The whisky was buried under the hut that Shackleton and his crew built as a staging ground for his expedition. See more here and here. The whisky was then abandoned under ice until their rediscovery nearly 100 years later in 2007. The recovered bottles were analyzed by Richard ‘The Nose’ Paterson, Master Blender at Whyte & Mackay, the owners of the original Mackinlay brand. They then painstakingly recreated the whisky.
Upon opening the bottle, a rush of smoke immediately hits the nose. I poured the spirit into a nosing glass and gave it the classic Paterson three-greetings. The reason for these ‘three-greetings’ is to get the nose used to the alcohol so that you can actually smell the whiskey. To me, it smells like smoke mixed with apple, vanilla, and brand-new Band Aids (nicer than that sounds). Adding a bit of water brought out more aroma of the smoke. It is the color of light straw-much lighter than most of my single malts.
I reduced the proof to about 80 from its original 94 by adding water. It tastes soft and sweet up front with caramel notes, then flamed orange rind with a slight creaminess. It is well-balanced with no overwhelming single flavor. The finish slowly breaks down to smoke and wood. All and all, there is an obvious reason why Shackleton had several crates of it to accompany him to Antarctica.