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Shackleton's Whisky - Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt

A blast from the Past.

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@galgReview by @galg

21st Apr 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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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.

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. classy!

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.

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lucadanna1985 commented

you know I was waiting for this review man! Thank you, I'd like to try an old fashioned blend like that!

9 years ago 0

jdcook commented

Don't mind me, I'll just be sitting over here in Australia feeling jealous!

9 years ago 0

markjedi1 commented

Remember, @lucadanna1985, this is NOT an old-fashioned blend, but a modern 'replica' with today's malts. The most elusive malt in this blend is probably the Glen Mhor from 1983 (the year that particular distillery closed). Nevertheless, sounds like a nice whisky indeed.

9 years ago 0

lucadanna1985 commented

well I meant old fashioned in style, but now I wonder if it's really so! :)

9 years ago 0

666ppm commented

Tasted a dram yesterday. Good lord, what a great whisky! 93 points in my personal ranking.

9 years ago 0

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