100 year-old whiskey dug up from Antarctic ice

Back in November we reported a plan by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust to retrieve crates of whiskey left by Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team after on unsuccessful attempt to make it to the South Pole in 1907-1909. The Nimrod Expedition made it to within 100 miles of the Pole before harsh weather forced the explorers to retreat. They ditched much of their gear along the way, including the whiskey.

In a remarkable feat of icy archaeology, these crates, which have been sitting under a cabin built by Shackleton’s team, have been pried free of the surrounding ice. Whiskey company Whyte and Mackay is elated. The company gave the Sir Shackleton the booze but hasn’t made this particular blend in decades. They’re hoping to sample the blend and replicate it.

The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust originally thought there were only two crates, so the other three came as a bonus. Three are labeled as whiskey and two as brandy. A few bottles might have broken, however, because the archaeologists smelled alcohol as they dug them up. They still need to scrape off the ice encasing the crates and gently remove ice that has formed inside before they know how many of the bottles are intact.

More ice cold news we’ve covered in the past – Brrrrr!