Finally Whisky Magazine is ok to break cover with this. I was there in the room with Richard and Dave during the tasting comparison at Whisky Live London and have had to sit quietly until given the official go-ahead to report. There was a definite air of anticipation in the room as Richard brought out his samples…you could tell Dave was getting excited. There was much muttering and scribbling from Dave. Richard’s usual exuberant self was toned down a little, clearly in reverence of the major task he had just pulled off.
It truly is a great replica of the original and it is clear that Mr Paterson has hit the nail on the head with the liquid. Well worth the £100 given the provenance and the story behind it.
Now the official release:
“Whyte & Mackay has successfully recreated the century-old whisky buried under the Antarctic ice by famous explorer Ernest Shackleton.
The company’s master blender Richard Paterson spent a painstaking eight weeks marrying and blending a range of malts to get an exact replica of the 100-year-old Mackinlay’s liquid.
And according to one independent expert, he has got the copy exactly right.
Renowned whisky writer Dave Broom is the only other person in the world to taste both the original whisky and Whyte & Mackay’s new liquid.
He said: “The Shackleton whisky is not what I expected at all, and not what anyone would have expected. It’s so light, so fresh, so delicate and still in one piece – it’s a gorgeous whisky.
“It proves that even way back then so much care, attention and thought went into whisky-making.
“I think the replication is absolutely bang on. Richard has done a great job as it’s a very tricky whisky to replicate, because you have this delicacy, subtlety and the smoke just coming through.
“The sweetness, fragrance and spice, and the subtle smoke, are all there in the replica. I’m blown away.”
The Shackleton replica will cost £100, with 5 per cent from every sale being donated back to the Antarctic Heritage Trust, the New Zealand charity responsible for finding and uncovering the original whisky. If all 50,000 bottles sell out the Trust will receive £250,000.
Trust chief executive Nigel Watson said: “From start to finish it’s taken almost four years to safely extract the whisky crate from site and then Antarctica, thaw it in museum conditions, secure permits and complete scientific analysis in Scotland . I am delighted that Whyte & Mackay recognise the hard work and value of the Trust’s conservation mission in Antarctica by making this very generous and welcome donation.”
Richard Paterson said that matching the whisky really tested his blending skills, but it was a true labour of love.
“It was a real privilege getting to handle, nose and taste such a rare and beautiful bottle of whisky. The quality, purity and taste of this 100-year-old spirit was amazing. The biggest surprise was the light flavour and the clear, almost vibrant colour of the liquid. I hope I have done our forefathers and Ernest Shackleton proud with the replica.
“I would like to thank the Trust in particular for their patience, their expertise and their hard work. They fully deserve the substantial funds this special bottle will generate.”
The whole replication process has been documented exclusively for National Geographic Channel for a documentary due to air at the end of this year.”