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Tasting Mackinlay’s Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt (the replica)

21 April 2011 Written by:

Whyte and MacKay PR picture to be used in conjunction with Shackleton story.   Three bottles of MacKinlays Rare Old Highland Malt whisky which was found underneath Shackletons Hut in Antarctica , were brought back to their spiritual home in Scotland , where they will be analysed by Whyte and MacKay's Master Blender Richard Patterson .   They were transported personally via private jet by the companies billionaire Indian owner Dr Vijay Mallya.  The bottles were in a case of whisky which spent more than 100 years buried in the Antarctic beneath a hut used by the explorer Ernest Shackleton during his unsuccessful 1907 to 1909 expedition to reach the South Pole.  One of the original bottles from Antarctica  For further information , contact Rob Bruce ,Head of Global PR Whyte & Mackay Tel: + 44 (0)141 249 6358 , Mob: +44 (0) 750 784 9831

Topic at hand, Shackelton’s Replica, also known as Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland malt. I bet you’ve heard the name Shackelton quite a few times these past few months, and if you haven’t than you are indeed living in another galaxy or stranded on some island with no TV, Internet and phone…

For the five people out there who have not heard about Shackelton’s whisky, here is a quick recap:

Last year a case of whisky that was buried for more than 100 years under the arctic was excavated and returned to Scotland. The whisky belonged to the polar explorer Ernst Shackelton and had been buried under snow since his unsuccessful expedition which took place from 1907 to 1909, attempting to reach the southern pole. All in all five cases of the Mackinlay’s whisky were dug, and a case of those was  flown to W&M HQ in Glasgow by their Indian Billionaire and owner Vijay Mallya, using his private jet. After arriving in Glasgow, Richard Paterson, Master blender extraordinaire for W&M  spent weeks in full laboratory conditions analysing the whisky before reporting back to the Antarctic Heritage Trust, then he set on a challenge of his own : To recreate this blend based on his analysis and after having tasted it himself. Sounds like a movie? It certainly can be made into one.

I was lucky enought to get a wee sample of the Replica whisky, which i was very excited to be able to sample. The Shackleton replica will cost £100, with 5% from every sale being donated back to the Antarctic Heritage Trust, the New Zealand charity responsible for finding and uncovering the original whisky. If all 50,000 bottles sell out the Trust will receive £250,000.

Ok, now after the history bites are behind  us, let’s get on and sample this little marvel of a whisky:

Mackinlay’s Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt, 47.3% ABV , £99


Nose: Quite light, with some apples, toffee, and some smoked leaves, crisp and lovely, also some apricots dipped in rose water.
Palate: Wham! the palate is much smokier, and powerful than the nose suggests. We dive into a wave of smoke mixed with sweeter malt, some dark tea leaves with a smoky twist,which then develops into more fruitier flavours :Big prunes, some dark chocolate and the fruit suggested by the nose.
Finish : Fruit (prunes,apricots) mixed with lingering smoke…

Bottom line:

this is splendid stuff, and the profile is much more smoky than i had in mind, a grand surprise. the melange of flavours with the fruits, especially the plums is wonderful.
Great job by Richard Paterson. I did not sample the “original’ version (Dave, i wish i were you!)  but this one is a cracking dram.

Now to the price. At 100 Pounds it’s not cheap. The box and bottle are very good looking, and i would not mind having this one decorating my bar. This is a very good whisky, but i would hope that a NAS like this one, would cost less. Oh well.

many thanks to Jill of W&M for this lovely sample and the opportunity to sample this very special whisky in advance.



  • Shai Gilboa said:

    This time I really envy you!
    I’m planning on getting a bottle of this though, but still.

    One correction – only 3 bottles were flown to Scotland.

    Nice post.

  • Gal(WhiskyIsrael) said:

    Well, i’ve read about more than 3 bottles, but i will check that again.

  • Scotch Hobbyist said:

    This sounds like a great whisky, and I’d love to have a bottle. But like you, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the price. I wish they were doing a 200ml version at somewhere closer to $50.


  • Gal(WhiskyIsrael) said:

    Bottle share is an option in this case the only downside is that the
    bottle and packing are so darned sexy. I want one. 😉

  • Whisky blogs round up – A wardrobe of Whisky said:

    […] Israel have been after Mackinlay’s Shacklenton Rare Old Highland Malt that you can still buy at Master of Malt for £99, a Glengoyne 9 years old from the Creative Whisky […]

  • Mackinlays (Shackleton) take II : “The Journey” | Whisky Israel said:

    […] reviewed the original Shackleton whisky back in 2011, and really like it, from the amazing story and history, to the lovely blending […]

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