While Ernest Shackleton was awarded with a knighthood upon return from his record breaking expedition to the South Pole, proof has emerged that the trip could have been little more than one extended jolly, with the legendary explorer sailing three sheets to the wind the entire journey.
Five crates of whisky and brandy have been recovered from a hut built during the Shackleton-led Antarctica knees-up of 1908, and furthermore it is thought that the century old treasure trove of booze may still be drinkable.
Two crates were initially found by explorers in 2006 but it proved too difficult to dislodge the ice that had been surrounding them for over a hundred years. Now a team of explorers have been sent out by whisky makers Whyte & Mackay to retrieve samples from the bottles, with the aim of recreating the blend.
In a statement Richard Paterson of Whyte & Mackay declared the find “a gift from the heavens” for whisky drinkers.
“If the contents can be confirmed, safely extracted and analysed, the original blend may be able to be replicated.
“Given the original recipe no longer exists this may open a door into history.”
The smell of whisky on the surrounding ice has led the heritage team who made the discovery to believe that some of the bottles have not survived undamaged. However, the sound of liquid moving around inside the crates indicates that there is a good chance that other bottles have remained intact.
It is also entirely possible that the whiskey will be suitable for consumption after all this time. David Stewart, master blender at William Grant & Sons Ltd, believes that it all depends on how the bottles were kept: “If these bottles have been stored upright there is every chance they will be drinkable.”
The bottles were stashed during Shackleton’s aborted attempt to become the first person to reach the South Pole, back in the good old buccaneering days of British Imperialism. Unfortunately after getting to only 100 miles from the pole Shackleton and co were forced to turn and head back to angry wives who they had presumably told that they were ‘just going out for one pint’ some two years before.