The Legend

The Legend

To bolster team spirit on his Antarctic expedition (Nimrod, 1907), Sir Ernest Shackleton personally ordered 25 cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky. 

In 2007, a century after the expedition, three cases of the perfectly preserved whisky were discovered, frozen into the ice beneath Shackleton’s base camp at Cape Royds.

The whisky was excavated and flown to New Zealand where it was carefully thawed by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust in a purpose-built environment and public gallery at Canterbury Museum.

The original cases of Rare Old Mackinlay’s whisky excavated from the ice under Sir Ernest Shackleton’s hut.

Shackleton Master Blender, Richard Paterson then travelled to New Zealand to personally escort three bottles home to Scotland where he subjected the whisky to sensory and chemical analysis to establish its flavour and composition. It was this work that inspired Paterson to create Shackleton whisky.


 Artefact Programme Manager Lizzie Meek working on the straw bottle covers at Canterbury Museum


Sir Ernest Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds.