New Zealanders drill for whisky in Antarctica

Whilst Americans may drill for oil in Alaska, New Zealanders are engaged in a mission to drill for a much more precious commodity: whisky. Whilst it's not unusual to find ice in your whisky, some has been discovered the other way round.

100 years ago in 1909, Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton cut short his mission in the Antarctic. Amongst the supplies abandoned were two crates of McKinlay and Co's Rare Old whisky, which is no longer made.

The crates were spotted in 2006, but are frozen so deep that they could not be removed on a whim. In fact, due to treaties, the whisky can only be removed for conservation reasons.

The team will probably not remove all the bottles, but one bottle or even a sample out of it would be sufficient for the purposes required - Whyte and MacKay, which now owns McKinlay and Co wish to perform tests on some.

Their master blender Richard Paterson hopes that the whisky will still be preserved - whisky collectors are encouraged to keep their whisky in a dark place away from heat, though it is possible to overdo these things - and he can make attempts to replicate it.

"When that whisky was made it would have been quite heavy and peaty as that was the style in the early 1900s" he told Britain's Sunday Telegraph.

Al Fastier of New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust takes a romantic attitude to the rare whisky: "It's better to imagine it than to taste it. That way it keeps its mystery." he explained.

A whisky collector's dilemma in a nutshell.

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