Do you remember a few years back when they discovered three crates of Scotch whisky underneath the Ernest Shackleton hut in Antactica? Ernest Shackleton was a famous explorer in the late 19th century, early 20th century and often made these epic polar expeditions. Beneath one of the huts from a 1909 expedition were three crates of whisky and two crates of brandy, perfectly preserved.
Now back in 1909, Whyte & Mackay had supplied the expedition with 25 crates of Mackinlay’s “Rare and Old” whisky. W&M would now take this rare and wonderful opportunity to recreate the whisky that was inside.
Why do they make replica Scotches? Because it’s fun. There’s no denying that it would be fun to drink a whisky once enjoyed by one of the most intrepid polar explorers, right? Even if you don’t like exploring, there’s a bit of magic and nostalgia wrapped around drinking a whisky from another era.
How do they replicate it? I’m not entirely sure, since this happens so infrequently and distilleries don’t reveal their secrets, but I suspect the master blenders just mix and match based on their experiences until the right flavors are recreated. Seems like an exceptionally tough task… but a fun one. 🙂
If you’re interested, the replica of the Shackleton whisky is called “Mackinlay’s Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt – The Discovery” and goes for about $170 per 750ml. here’s more on the Shackleton expedition, the whiky, and the replica.
There aren’t a lot of replica whiskies out there outside of these rare situations, but The Macallan loves to make various replicas from the 19th century too.