Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

How Scottish Scientists Re-Created a Hundred-Year-Old Whisky (Shackleton's Antartica Scotch)
PopSci ^ | 01.04.2012 | Paul Adams

Posted on 01/22/2012 4:18:28 PM PST by DogByte6RER

How Scottish Scientists Re-Created a Hundred-Year-Old Whisky

Preserved in Antarctica since 1907, the Scotch that Ernest Shackleton drank is now available in stores

Photobucket

In 1907, Ernest Shackleton and crew set out on the ship Nimrod to visit Antarctica and, they hoped, the South Pole. The good news was, the entire party survived the trip, thanks in part to the Rare Old Highland Whisky they brought to the frozen continent. But the expedition was forced to evacuate in 1909, some 100 miles short of the Pole they sought. And, as winter ice encroached and the men hurried home, they left behind three cases of the choice whisky.

In 2007, just about a century later, the whisky was found, intact, at the expedition's hut at Cape Royds in Antarctica.

The stuff was made by Mackinlay & Co at the Glen Mhor distillery in 1896 or thereabouts. Mackinlay hasn't been an active brand for a while now, but the current owner of the Mackinlay name, Whyte and Mackay, obtained a few of the precious bottles and set out to do what any right-thinking Scot would do: first, taste the whisky; and second, attempt to analyze and re-create it. The result, a product called Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky, is, as of this writing, buyable in stores.

How was the re-creation carried out? Dr. James Pryde, chief chemist at Whyte and Mackay, subjected the samples to a comprehensive chemical analysis, in conjunction with a rigorous sensory analysis (that is, sniffing and tasting). Firstly, it was established that the alcoholic strength of the whisky was high enough that it very likely never froze over the years it spent interred in Antarctica. In winter, the hut reached a minimum temperature of -32.5°C, but, at 47 percent alcohol, the whisky remained liquid down to a couple of degrees cooler than that extreme. This eliminated what had been a significant source of concern about the quality of the sample, that decades of freezing and thawing had altered or ruined it. Carbon dating verified that the whisky did indeed date from the Shackleton era.

Phenol and related phenolic compounds show up in Scotch whiskies, giving them the unmistakable character that's referred to "peaty," because the flavor is introduced when the grain is exposed to peat smoke during the malting process. Chemical analysis revealed not only the quantity of phenolics in the Mackinlay -- surprisingly low, given that era's reputation for heavily peated malts -- but also the particular balance of compounds, which enabled the experts to pinpoint what region the peat used had likely come from. The answer? Orkney.

Similarly, analysis of the compounds that result from barrel-aging was able to finger the barrels in which the whisky was aged as ones made from American oak and probably used once before to age wine or sherry. Gas chromatograph olfactometry, in which the spirit is broken down into its volatile components and each of these smelled individually by experts, gave clues as to details of the fermentation and distilling process. The analysts write:

Other aromas detected by olfactometry and related to lactic acid bacterial growth were a stale solvent aroma of ethyl 2-butenoate, and sweet/ peaches, sweet/peaches/coriander leaf aroma at retention times of 15.4, 38.71 and 39.41 min respectively; the latter retention indices and descriptors agreeing with those published for γ- and δ-dodecalactones.

Armed with all this detail, Whyte and Mackay's master distiller, Richard Paterson, was able to delve into the wealth of warehoused casks and, with the help of his prodigious nose, blend a number of whiskies in exact proportions to replicate the Shackleton spirit. The re-creation, which is given a stint in sherry casks before bottling, includes some of the remaining whisky from the Glen Mhor distillery, which was demolished in 1986, supplemented with comparable liquor from nearby Dalmore. Benriach, Glenfarclas, and other Speyside whiskies lend their character, along with Balblair, Pulteney, and Jura.

The resulting blend was subjected to the same battery of chemical analysis as the original, and found to stack up quite comparably, their phenolics and esters finely matched.

Finally, minus the milliliters of whisky that had been carefully syringed out through their corks, the original bottles were returned from Scotland to the Shackleton expedition's hut, where they have been re-situated as part of the preserved environ by the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

For the complete details of the analysis of the Mackinlay whisky, a copy of the paper published by Dr. Pryde et al in the Journal of the Institute of Brewing is available here.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Food; History; Miscellaneous; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: 1907; alcohol; antartica; cheers; ernestshackleton; expedition; scotch; southpole; whiskey; whisky; zymurgy
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-53 next last
Photobucket

Syringe of Whisky: Instead of pulling the corks, the scientists drew whisky from the bottles through a sterile needle. Journal of the Institute of Brewing

1 posted on 01/22/2012 4:18:36 PM PST by DogByte6RER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Sensory and Chemical Analysis of ‘Shackleton’s’ Mackinlay Scotch Whisky:

http://www.scientificsocieties.org/jib/papers/2011/G-2011-0630-1168.pdf


2 posted on 01/22/2012 4:20:16 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

Endurance: one of the most fascinating and excruciating stories ever told.


3 posted on 01/22/2012 4:22:42 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (religion + guns = liberty.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
THIS is what science is for.

To heck with telling us 2 pieces of bacon is suicide, or butter and eggs will kill us.

THIS is the purpose of science. To improve life and answer important questions.

/johnny

4 posted on 01/22/2012 4:23:43 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

Agreed! Advancing human knowledge one malt whisky bottle at a time!


5 posted on 01/22/2012 4:27:14 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
94 proof. Pretty good scotch I'd say.
6 posted on 01/22/2012 4:27:34 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
In winter, the hut reached a minimum temperature of -32.5°C

I would have imagined that some time in the last 105 years it would have gotten colder than this....

7 posted on 01/22/2012 4:28:26 PM PST by hecticskeptic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

My thoughts, also.


8 posted on 01/22/2012 4:28:32 PM PST by Dryman (Define Natural Born Citizen)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Noumenon

Ping.


9 posted on 01/22/2012 4:32:34 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All

A related FR thread posted two years ago re: the discovery of the Shackleton whisky cache:

Scotch Whisky Meant To Warm Antarctic Explorers Retrieved After Century Locked In Ice

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2445805/posts


10 posted on 01/22/2012 4:36:49 PM PST by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tijeras_Slim; Constitution Day

'tis a wee bonnie Scotch Ping.

11 posted on 01/22/2012 4:37:41 PM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
The result, a product called Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky, is, as of this writing, buyable in stores.

Thought that part of the requirement to be a scotch is to be aged at least ten years.

Since the three cases were only discovered approximately five years ago and then analyzed; how long has the new stuff been aged?

12 posted on 01/22/2012 4:45:35 PM PST by suijuris
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

£81.63 + VAT tax (0.0) + Delivery Charge to u.S. £32.00 (1) or 38.00 for 2 bottles.

.

13 posted on 01/22/2012 4:51:48 PM PST by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yan

ping


14 posted on 01/22/2012 4:54:31 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Real solidarity means coming together for the common good."-Sarah Palin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: suijuris

“Thought that part of the requirement to be a scotch is to be aged at least ten years.

Since the three cases were only discovered approximately five years ago and then analyzed; how long has the new stuff been aged?”

From the article:

“Armed with all this detail, Whyte and Mackay’s master distiller, Richard Paterson, was able to delve into the wealth of warehoused casks and, with the help of his prodigious nose, blend a number of whiskies in exact proportions to replicate the Shackleton spirit.”

They blended what they had on hand to get what they wanted. What they had on hand should have been properly aged.


15 posted on 01/22/2012 4:57:28 PM PST by KrisKrinkle (Blessed be those who know the depth and breadth of their ignorance. Cursed be those who don't.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

Scotch Whiskey tastes very VERY bad no matter how old or expensive it is.


16 posted on 01/22/2012 5:00:02 PM PST by macquire
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hecticskeptic
In winter, the hut reached a minimum temperature of -32.5°C

I would have imagined that some time in the last 105 years it would have gotten colder than this....

You don't factor in global warming climate change whatever...the place was probably sub-tropical for most of the century.8^)

17 posted on 01/22/2012 5:00:35 PM PST by and so? (If it angers you, a sarcasm or irony tag after everything I post should be assumed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

I call bs - no real scotsman would have left 3 cases of whisky behind.


18 posted on 01/22/2012 5:08:42 PM PST by Sparky1776
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: macquire

19 posted on 01/22/2012 5:21:01 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (Nothing will change until after the war.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

This was on the History Channel a few months ago. Very interesting show.


20 posted on 01/22/2012 5:23:54 PM PST by DugwayDuke
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TLI

In other words, about $130 per bottle.


21 posted on 01/22/2012 5:24:23 PM PST by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: KrisKrinkle

Thanks Kris. Guess it helps to read the whole article.


22 posted on 01/22/2012 5:24:36 PM PST by suijuris
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: macquire
Scotch Whiskey tastes very VERY bad no matter how old or expensive it is.

Blasphemy!

23 posted on 01/22/2012 5:25:47 PM PST by Focault's Pendulum
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

Damn straight buddy! Real science at its best!


24 posted on 01/22/2012 5:31:01 PM PST by packrat35 (When will we admit we are now almost a police state?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
Finally, minus the milliliters of whisky that had been carefully syringed out through their corks, the original bottles were returned from Scotland to the Shackleton expedition's hut...

Road trip! I mean, boat and dog-sled trip!

25 posted on 01/22/2012 5:35:29 PM PST by Barnacle (Is treason a high crime or misdemeanor?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: macquire

That’s my feeling too.

Never could get a taste for it.


26 posted on 01/22/2012 5:35:47 PM PST by Venturer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: hecticskeptic

It was on an island off the coast; having the ocean there probably moderated the temperatures somewhat.


27 posted on 01/22/2012 5:36:08 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: jjotto
In other words, about $130 per bottle.

Yep.

There is some mighty fine single malts out there for that $130.00.

.

28 posted on 01/22/2012 5:39:57 PM PST by TLI ( ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

LOL! You are correct!


29 posted on 01/22/2012 5:41:12 PM PST by rabidralph
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand

A favorite of my Dad and me. Never tire of reading it again. I don’t want to shovel the driveway without fleece and Goretex. They did what they did wearing threadbare wool and wornout skins while eating penguins and seal blubber and they all came home.


30 posted on 01/22/2012 5:43:09 PM PST by Eagles6
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Eagles6
A favorite of my Dad and me. Never tire of reading it again. I don’t want to shovel the driveway without fleece and Goretex. They did what they did wearing threadbare wool and wornout skins while eating penguins and seal blubber and they all came home.

"...to our wives and girlfriends! And may they never meet!"

31 posted on 01/22/2012 5:55:43 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (religion + guns = liberty.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: hecticskeptic

What is the F equivalent of -32C? I forget the formula.


32 posted on 01/22/2012 6:10:52 PM PST by Tucker39
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER

What is the F equivalent of -32C? I can’t remember the formula. Thanx.


33 posted on 01/22/2012 6:14:20 PM PST by Tucker39
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand

Yeah, I remember that one. ;-)


34 posted on 01/22/2012 6:18:17 PM PST by Eagles6
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: hinckley buzzard
In sherry aged casks as well. Makes for a very smooth scotch, mmm tasty. Yes it is an acquired taste.
35 posted on 01/22/2012 6:24:26 PM PST by Polynikes (Hakkaa Palle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Tucker39
Works out to about -25.6F. Chilly by any standards
36 posted on 01/22/2012 6:27:30 PM PST by Polynikes (Hakkaa Palle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Tucker39
(-32) degrees Celsius = -25.6 degrees Fahrenheit

http://www.metric-conversions.org/temperature/celsius-to-fahrenheit.htm

37 posted on 01/22/2012 6:29:59 PM PST by Dust in the Wind (U S Troops Rock)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: JRandomFreeper

Gone Malt?


38 posted on 01/22/2012 6:32:48 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
Finally, minus the milliliters of whisky that had been carefully syringed out through their corks, the original bottles were returned from Scotland to the Shackleton expedition's hut, where they have been re-situated as part of the preserved environ by the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

What a waste. I'm an historical preservationist, but this is ridiculous. Good thing I don't drink anymore, or I'd be organizing a salvage expedition.

Or does the Antarctic Heritage Trust maintain an armed guard? Now that would be a great job for a misanthrope....

39 posted on 01/22/2012 6:56:57 PM PST by sphinx
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


All contributions are for the Current Quarter Expenses.



Every time a Freeper or Lurker signs up to be a New Monthly Donor

A generous Freeper donates $10!!

Please sign up now!

40 posted on 01/22/2012 7:17:46 PM PST by RedMDer (Forward With Confidence!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Dust in the Wind

Neat coincidence :

-40 F = -40 C

Whiskey and other spirits don’t change after bottling so further aging
Is a waste of time.


41 posted on 01/22/2012 8:03:49 PM PST by alpo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Tucker39

Recalling that -40F = -40C, and noting that -32C is 8C warmer than that, and that a difference of 8C means a difference of 8*9/5 F = 72/5 F = 14.4F, we have -32C = -25.6F


42 posted on 01/22/2012 8:11:34 PM PST by dr_lew
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: macquire
Scotch Whiskey tastes very VERY bad no matter how old or expensive it is.

I'm with you. Give me a good American bourbon - Bookers or Knob Creek, at least; even plain old Jim Beam over any scotch.

43 posted on 01/22/2012 8:56:15 PM PST by Chuckster (The longer I live the less I care about what you think.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
A great, great book, if you like reading about adventures of endurance and derring-do.

Those Who Dared: Stories from the golden age of exploration


44 posted on 01/22/2012 9:15:17 PM PST by Daffynition (When I was a chiId was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: macquire; Taxman

That’s *your* opinion. Meh.


45 posted on 01/22/2012 9:19:36 PM PST by Daffynition (When I was a chiId was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: sphinx

Is this a trend....might the Brits be considering returning the Elgin marbles?


46 posted on 01/22/2012 9:22:18 PM PST by Daffynition (When I was a chiId was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: DogByte6RER
...Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky...

Phenol and related phenolic compounds show up in Scotch whiskies, referred to “peaty,”

Highland Single malts are not described as peaty, generally. But to protect the rest of you from that licorice crap, I am willing to “take one for the team”.

Send me a case of it, and I will thoroughly test it, and tell you if it is too “peaty”. If it is, I will dispose of the rest of it for you all.

47 posted on 01/22/2012 11:51:40 PM PST by tdscpa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tucker39
TempC = (TempF - 32) * .625

TempF = TempC * 1.8 + 32

48 posted on 01/23/2012 6:25:49 AM PST by SAJ (What is the next tagline some overweening mod will censor?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Tucker39
Typos galore, sorry (grrrr!)

Tc = (Tf - 32) * 5/9

Tf = (Tc * 9/5) + 32

(mutters at self...)

49 posted on 01/23/2012 6:31:53 AM PST by SAJ (What is the next tagline some overweening mod will censor?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Tucker39

You don’t need to remember the formula.

If you know that water freezes at 32 F, or at 0 C

And boils at 212 F, or 100 C

Then you can immediately note that 30 to 212 F = 0 to 100 C

So 1 C = 1.8 F

It should be obvious to the casual observer, that the starting points are not the same - so,

Deg F = (1.8)Deg C +32


50 posted on 01/23/2012 6:46:50 AM PST by patton ("Je pense donc je suis," - My Horse.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-53 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson