Talk about whisky on ice: Three bottles of rare, 19th-century Scotch found beneath the floor boards of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackelton's abandoned expedition base were returned to the polar continent today. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key personally returned the Scotch to Antarctic Heritage Trust officials at a ceremony at New Zealand's Antarctic base on Ross Island. The bottles will be transferred by March from Ross Island to the desolate hut at Cape Royds, where they had been forgotten for 102 years.
The bottles of Mackinlay's whisky, bottled in 1898 after the blend was aged 15 years, were among three crates of Scotch and two of brandy found in 2010 beneath a basic hut Shackleton had used during his 1907 Antarctic excursion. Distiller Whyte & Mackay, which now owns the Mackinlay brand, drew a sample with a syringe through a cork of one of the bottles. The original recipe is long gone, but the distiller recreated a limited edition of 50,000 bottles.