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

Average score from 8 reviews and 17 ratings 86

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

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

The off-yellow color is more leathery than golden, as if to reflect a century of entombment in ice amid the tackle and truck of an Arctic expedition. The complaint among the smart drinkers regarding a manipulative tie-in to the Shackleton expedition seems rather hasty to me: in the end, you’ve got to admit, it’s a helluva story, and the sheer opposite of manufactured prestige and heritage. Shackleton truly braved the Arctic, and he really took along with him a now laughably extravagant supply of Mackinlay’s blended scotch. This gentle approximation bears marks of pride and careful craftsmanship.

This is a warmly perfumed scotch, like a scent rising from a cabaret dancer. It’s a trite and effete word, but I can’t describe this one without using the word “bouquet.” The overall effect is that of a room crowded with sweet ladies, smoky gentlemen, and waiters bearing lemon merengue pie, mingling so amiably that you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins.

The flavor sits on the back of your tongue like a banana confit. There’s the distinctive Scottish peatiness like a farmer’s field with cows. Honey, caramel, lemon, and pear make appearances in the sweetness.

To sum up, this is one of the best blends I’ve tasted. In some parts of the world, the price is roughly the same as Monkey Shoulder, but I would say it’s better than that for quality. Though it has an adequate body, it’s a little on the light side, and won’t sit long in the bottle.

It is entirely unclear to me how many editions of this whisky there have been; the one I reviewed appears to be the latest version.


This blend is a replica of the whisky left in Antarctica by Sir Ernest Shackleton during his South Pole expedition between 1907 and 1909. It was recreated by Whyte and Mackay’s master blender Richard “The Nose” Paterson and contains mostly Glen Mhor (apparently of the rare 1983 kind) and Dalmore, although other Speyside malts such as Longmorn, Benriach, Glenfarclas, Mannochmore, Tamnavulin and Glen Rothes were included to add the floral flavours, combined with Highland whiskies from Balblair and Pulteney and topped with some aged Jura.

The nose has some distinct fruity notes such as citrus fruits, pears, and pineapple. I also detected biscuit, caramel and some hints of rubber. In addition to that there is a whiff of smoke that elegantly completes this many-sided nose. This is a great start to a tasting session!

The palate is medium-bodied, sweet and rather oily. The citrus fruits reappear, this time next to some delicious apple flavours. Midway the palate turns peppery and ends with a punch of earthy peat.

The finish is medium long, very warming and pleasantly lingering. There are again citrus fruits and caramel that at the end are overtaken by a sweet pepperiness and the earthy peat already observed on the palate.

This is a very good blend, and I enjoyed every dram that I got out of my bottle, especially the combination of sweetness and peatiness. Still, the 160 Euros that I had to fork out at the time were a heavy price tag that no doubt was influenced by the story of how the original whisky was recreated by “The Nose” himself. Would I buy it again? I do not think so, but I certainly enjoyed it while I had it.


I heard the story of Shackleton's Whisky and saw a bottle for sale in the newspaper ads for a local bottle shop. My wife and I looked at the bottle and said we gotta try this! Problem is the bottle is going for $200 Aussie. We decide for something this awesome we gotta do it, even if it is $200! We ran out to the bottle shop that day and immediately bought the bottle.

When we opened the bottle the first smells we got were of oak, then a slight fruity/vanilla odor. Now to see if it tasted as good as it smelled!

On the first sip the first thing we got was alcohol, like a slap in the face then peat, woodsmoke. It's hard, but enjoyable. I immediately started salivating and couldn't wait for another taste. As I sip the taste slowly developed with stronger oak and honey tones. As I drink it starts to get a bit spicey for me, but it is still enjoyable.

Finish was long and smooth with lots of oak and spice!

This was a good whisky. One I'd like to drink again and again. There's nothing wrong with this whisky, especially if you like smoke, except the price. My wife and I both enjoy a glass now and then and I'd love to keep a bottle on hand for guests, but at $200 bucks a bottle it's just not worth it for me. I feel that I'm paying more for the fancy box and the story behind the whisky, then the whisky itself. Is it a good dram to have? Sure! But for the price that we paid for this bottle we could of got at least a couple of bottles of other whiskies that are just as good if not better then this.

Is it worth trying, sure is. Is it worth buying at $200? Sure if money isn't that big an issue for you. For my money I could of gotten a couple of other bottles such as Aberlour 10 year, Arberg 10 year, etc, that are just as good, if not better.

Get the bottle if you have some money to blow and are interested in the story, but if you have to watch your malt money like me, move on my friend.

Interesting! Thank you for sharing, I was actually thinking of buying a bottle just for the story behind it. But maybe I should place my money elsewhere.


Well, how would you say?... "A blast from the past" I guess! If you haven't heard about this Whisky or the whole story about Shackleton and his Nimrod Expedition in 1909... then I would recommend going back to school or to go back into the closet where you have been the last 5 years!

Thing is though, I think when writing a Review on the WhiskyConnsor’s Website, then it’s obvious that probably 99.9% of the Whisky Enthusiasts here know about the “Shackleton’s Whisky”!

Being it my first written Whisky Review on WhiskyConnsor’s Website, I thought why not write about something that’s close to my heart. To summer the story up a little, A team of Archaeologists from The NZ Antarctic Heritage Trust in February 2007 came across an amazing discovery at Cape Royds, Ross Island, Antarctica, of what was once Sir Ernest Shackleton’s South Pole Expedition Hut (77°33?S 166°9?E / 77.55°S 166.15°E / -77.55; 166.15) – to be exact! The discovery was several cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt whisky, which had been left behind after a failed attempt to reach the South Pole on the “Nimrod” between 1907 and 1909. After retrieving a few cases from underneath the hut in early 2010, they were then taken to The Canterbury Museum, where the crates under tight security and supervision, were left to slowly thaw and be allowed to reveal the mystery under the ice and straw. To which they unearthed its contents to recover bottles of the Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt, which was ordered by Shackleton himself for the long Expedition.

Whyte & Mackay’s Master Blender Richard “The Nose” Paterson, got the chance to collect 3 bottles from New Zealand, and with help from Dr Vijay Mallya and his private jet, were flown back home to Scotland to be analyzed. Once the analysis was completed, Richard Paterson then started his magic, and went about going trying to re-create the Shackleton’s Whisky. To which he successfully achieved! And now, we have the privilege of tasting this one off, limited edition Whisky that was once “history”!

Nose: (Hello… How are ye?...) Because of the Alcohol content being 47,3%, it does hit you at first, but then prickles the nose and becomes more softer and refined with aromas of apple crumble, pear drops and freshly cut pineapple. It also has a hint of cinnamon and ginger coming through after a couple of minutes. The Oak is dominant, but the “tease of smoke” is very much in the background, to which I thought, would be more prominent in the Dram.

Taste: (Don’t drink it like a Cowboy now!) It’s a wonderful idea being able to taste a part of history, to know what Whisky tasted like back then. After leaving the Dram in the “Copita Nosing Glass” (of course!) for a good 15 minutes, I then went ahead and savoured this “Liquid Gold”. It reveals hints of Highland Toffee (from the Ice Cream Van), pears and crushed pecan nuts, treacle and a whisper of Smoke. Very pleasant on the palate.

Finish: Lasts long on the tongue, with a lingering taste of smoke in the background.

A remarkable discovery, an amazing story, a tremendous achievement! What more can I say?!

Slàinte Mhath.


The story is pretty widely known by now about Ernest Shackleton and the whisky he took with him all those years ago on his expedition. And if you're reading this review, there is a good chance you know about this bottle and why/how it was recreated. So I won't waste time going into that!

Anyway as with previous reviews, I like to drink my whisky rather than just collect them. And it was about time I got round to opening this one!

It's another fairly pale whisky to look at, which took me by surprise, for some reason I expected it to look fuller and darker. Anyway on the nose I picked up a very wooden, oaky smell, actually more like an apple tree, with the cooking apples being collected at the time. Odd thought I know!

There were tastes of caramel, butter and almost a sticky toffee pudding type feel to it. The wood made a reappearance as well. It finished quite sharply, but with a sweet and fruity hit that puts a smile on your face.

I would love to have sampled the real thing, but the recreation will have to do! Anyway it's a decent whisky in its own right, and even without the whole Shackleton background it would do well in my opinion.

This is a whisky with a great story to boot... I was suprised just how good this whisky was, It does open up after 10-20 mins and has a great smokey nose to it, Although i want more of this whisky the 100 pound asking price does put me off buying more... good review though....

Thanks! And I agree, if the asking price was a bit lower I would probably look at buying more of it, but £100 for a whisky I would like to buy again and drink regularly is a bit out of my range!


A lot has already been written about the original whisky Ernest Shackleton left on the South Pole in 1909, which was then found in 2007. Whyte & Mackay’s Richard Paterson – aka The Nose – created a replica, including Glen Mhor from 1983 (the year the distillery closed). No less than 50.000 bottles were produced and are being sold for £100 each (of which £5 goes to the Antartic Heritage Trust). The original bottles have been returned to their final resting place under Shackleton’s cabin in the snow.

The nose is elegant and soft with green apples and pineapple, softly spiced with ginger and maybe even some cinnamon. It has a ‘dirty’ side too, but that disappears from the glass fairly quickly. Fresh oak shavings bring sweet vanilla and caramel to the mix. There is a hint of smoke that adds a certain beauty to the nose.

It’s a bit drying and picquant on the palate. The pineapple from the nose returns, together with some orange zest. Pepper and nutmeg. Reminds me even of rice gruel with brown sugar… The smokiness is a constant presence in the background. Quite nice, actually. I’m not sure why that should come as a surprise. Maybe I was prejudiced because the release of this blend has been so hyped by the marketing boys. But this is really good.

The finish on oranges, spices and smoke lasts quite a bit.

A very good blend, but I think the pricetag was decided by the luxurious packaging and the nice story, not the quality of the whisky. Is it worth the money? Well, you’ll have to make up your own mind when you taste it. But it’s good, no doubt about it.


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.

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.

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

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