According to this article from the BBC, the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust has announced plans to retrieve a pair of crates buried in the Antarctic ice following a failed attempted to reach the South Pole more than a century ago. The crates contain bottles of McKinlay and Co whiskey, and were first discovered back in 2006 beneath the remains of a hut built to shelter explorers from the harsh polar climate. That expedition, led by Ernest Shackleton, came within 97 miles of reaching the Pole before turning back, leaving equipment and supplies, including the whiskey, behind to lighten their load and speed their progress.
The Trust hopes to recover the whiskey, and restore the bottles, before placing them in another one of Shackleton’s huts located on Cape Royd. The organization is slowly rebuilding that hut so that it exactly resembles the condition it was in when the famed explorer and his team set off on their epic journey.
Of course, the Trust isn’t the only one interested in recovering the crates from the ice. Whyte and Mackay, the distiller that now owns the McKinlay whiskey brand, hopes to get their hands on a bottle as well. This particular blend has been out of circulation for decades, and they would like the opportunity to recreate it and beginning selling it again too.
Shackleton was one of the foremost polar explores of his day, and at the time of the expedition, he was locked in a desperate race to become the first man to reach the South Pole. He would eventually lose that race to Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, but his exploits in the Antarctic would continue for years to come. In 1914 his ship, the Endurance, became trapped in the pack ice, and Shackleton and his crew spent 10 months at the mercy of the shifting ice. Eventually, the ship was crushed, and all hands were forced to abandon ship. It would be another five months before they were rescued, but not a single life was lost on the expedition, making it one of the greatest survival stories of all times, and cementing Shackleton’s place in exploration history.