Mackinlay’s Shackleton Discovery Edition


Thanks to /u/UncleBaldric for the sample via /r/ScotchSwap on reddit

Way back at the beginning of the 20th century Sir Ernest Shackleton went on an exploratory expidition of Antarcta. Him and his team did many great things there, but among them he left some sealed whisky and brandy there.

These were recovered in 2010, a little over a century later. Whyte & Mackay’s Richard Patterson then went and put his much famed Nose™ to use in tasting the whisky and attempting to recreate it from the array of whiskies at his disposal today (this is a blended malt to the best of my knowledge).

Mackinlay’s Shackleton was the result. There have been several iterations some cheaper than others, but this “Discovery” edition is meant to be Patterson’s exact replica.

I’m a sucker for tasting old whiskies and recreations of old whiskies. As I’ve said before, we’ll never truly now how the modern iteration compares with what it’s based off, but it’s still damn fun.

Aged 3 years*. 47.3% ABV. 

*for lack of age statement.

Nose: Dust. Sour malt. Herbal honey. Yellow apples. Cotton candy. Light citrus. Wax. Rice paper. Sawdust. Ozone. Wood smoke. Slight rummy sweetness.

Palate: Dirt. Malt. Engine oil. Smoke. Molasses. Citrus. Varnished wood. Bitter honey.

Finish: Medium-Long. Smoke. Bitter wood. Bitter fruits. Pickled ginger. Honey.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes


I must say this is a really nice whisky. It’s got this dirty, oily character which apparently was a lot more common in older whiskies and which I really enjoy. It was really fun to try this. This was a pretty expensive bottle even when it was released, due to the story and all that, and there are comperable whiskies out there today, so I’m not going to go out hunting for bottles of it or anything, but glad I got to try it, even if just to satisfy the history nerd in me.


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