07 January 2012

Scots Scientists Recreate Century-Old Whisky

As reported in Popular Science:

In 1907, Ernest Shackleton and crew set out on the ship Nimrod to visit Antarctica and, they hoped, the South Pole. The good news was, the entire party survived the trip, thanks in part to the Rare Old Highland Whisky they brought to the frozen continent. But the expedition was forced to evacuate in 1909, some 100 miles short of the Pole they sought. And, as winter ice encroached and the men hurried home, they left behind three cases of the choice whisky.
In 2007, just about a century later, the whisky was found, intact, at the expedition's hut at Cape Royds in Antarctica.
The stuff was made by Mackinlay & Co at the Glen Mhor distillery in 1896 or thereabouts. Mackinlay hasn't been an active brand for a while now, but the current owner of the Mackinlay name, Whyte and Mackay, obtained a few of the precious bottles and set out to do what any right-thinking Scot would do: first, taste the whisky; and second, attempt to analyze and re-create it. The result, a product called Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky, is, as of this writing, buyable in stores.
This, of course, raises two questions:

1) Given a certain Delaware brewery's a) ownership of a distillery and 2) fetish for recreating its interpretation of historic recipes based on similar chemical analysis, how long before they undertake a similar project?

2) Are any other readers here old enough to have read this and asked upon reading this story "Are those guys sure they didn't blunder upon one of those cases of Canadian whiskey Canadian Club was stashing as a publicity gimmick for years?"

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