Monday, August 5, 2013

Hiking good times - D.T.W.C July 2013 Wrap Up

First Edition Shackleton’s Discovery - Mackinlay Rare Old Highland
Thanks to all club members for making the recent Whisky Night as enjoyable as ever. A total of 8 members attended the festivities including 2 guests who were welcomed in by The Baron. The theme for the evening was ‘hiking’, which all members agreed was considerably difficult to dress to. Of course, this theme was all in honour of the whisky for the evening which was the First Edition Shackleton’s Discovery - Mackinlay Rare Old Highland malt dedicated to Earnest Shackleton and his fearless team who undertook the ultimately doomed Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole. On unveiling the revered whisky, a tribute to Earnest Shackleton was read out, the contents of which are below* along with some photos for anyone looking to undertake a school assignment on the topic.

Ernest Shackleton and The Whisky how it was found
Unfortunately the general consensus on the whisky was underwhelming by most members, however I still have sufficient quantity of the whisky remaining and will perform an unbiased, separate review subsequent to this post.

The Converted dialling in from London
In a double whammy for the evening we were able to Skype in both The Diplomat from Brisbane and The Converted from London. Was a great chance for all members to catch-up and share their latest tales.

The selection of whisky brought by members was, as always, an excellent standard and included :

The evenings whiskies
A big thank you to our two guests for the evening who supplied a selection of Australia and New Zealand malts from a recent whisky tasting event. A great opportunity for us all to taste the latest and greatest whiskies coming out of our own region.

The meal of the evening was a superb corned beef with potato casserole and broccoli. Due to the fact that plates didn’t require cleaning afterwards was an indication of how enjoyable the meal was. Dessert was sponge cake topped with jam, cream and strawberries, and suffice to say, there was none left over.

Next meeting has been set at the Colonel-in-Chief’s residence during October 2013.

El Capitan

* Shackleton’s Whisky

Supposed Nimrod Expedition advertisement. This is not a real cutting and cannot be substantiated. It also has been attributed to the Endurance Expedition by Shackleton. Makes for a great story to tell but must fall into the realm of the  urban myth.
In the Summer of 1907, four companions set-out from England on an expedition to become the first human beings to reach the south pole.  At the time, many such expeditions had been undertaken without success. Their trek was named the Nimrod expedition and was led by an intrepid adventurer and hiking pioneer Ernest Shackleton.

Nimrod Expedition Map
Over the next two years the expedition reached the Antarctic shores and probed slowly towards the south pole.  However, come the middle of 1909 as winter weather began setting in, the Nimrod expedition sadly ran short of supplies.  Their long ski trek across the northern Antarctic coast had to be cut short 160 kilometres short of its goal.  As the expedition sailed away they were forced to leave behind supplies - including their stock of MacKinlay & Co whisky.

Fast Forward to 2006 and a New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust team restoring the same Antarctic hut used by Nimrod over 100 years ago stumbled upon the abandoned cache of supplies including five crates of MacKinlay & Co Scotch Whisky.  Restoration workers found the crates under the hut's floorboards, but they were too deeply embedded in ice to be dislodged.

Current distillery owner, drinks group **Whyte & Mackay, launched the bid to recover the Scotch whisky for samples to test and decide whether to relaunch the defunct spirit made by distiller MacKinlay and Co.

It took the next four years to safely extract the whisky crates from site, thaw it in museum conditions, secure permits and complete scientific analysis in Scotland.

Ice had cracked some of the bottles that had been left there in 1909, but the restorers were confident that intact bottles were present "given liquid could be heard when the crates were moved."

Richard Paterson, master blender at Whyte and Mackay, spent 8 weeks blending a range of malts to get a replica of the 100-year-old Mackinlay's liquid.  He described the find as "a gift from the heavens for whisky lovers."

It is Ernest Shackleton’s great experience that we will be sharing here tonight.

** Whyte & Mackay

Distillers Whyte & Mackay, which owns the MacKinlay whisky found in 2007, hopes to sell 50,000 bottles at £100.

A percentage of the price goes to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Whisky writer Dave Broom has tasted both the original whisky taken on the 1907-09 expedition and Whyte & Mackay's new spirit.  He said: "The Shackleton whisky is not what I expected at all. "It's so light, so fresh, so delicate and still in one piece - it's a gorgeous whisky. "It proves that even way back then so much care, attention and thought went into whisky-making."