Canterbury Museum

Shackleton Whisky Returns Home to Scotland

Posted: 19 January 2011

One of the world’s most famous whiskies has been returned home to Scotland after spending more than 100 years untouched by human hand and encased in Antarctic ice.

Three bottles of the Mackinlays whisky which accompanied Ernest Shackleton on his 1907 expedition have been returned to brand owner Whyte & Mackay for scientific analysis.

The liquid is so rare and valuable that the Antarctic Heritage Trust and New Zealand authorities refused to let it travel unaccompanied and in the hold of any plane.

So Whyte & Mackay company owner Dr Vijay Mallya, the renowned Indian business mogul, stepped in to personally collect and fly the bottles back to Scotland using his private jet.

Whyte & Mackay’s master blender Richard Paterson will spend up to six weeks in full laboratory conditions analysing, nosing, tasting and “deconstructing” the whisky before reporting back to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Once the analysis is complete, the bottles will be transported back to New Zealand by private plane for their eventual return back to Shackleton’s hut on the Antarctic, unlikely to ever leave the ice again.


Dr Vijay Mallya, owner of Whyte & Mackay

Speaking at Glasgow Airport this morning, Dr Mallya said: “I have taken a personal interest in this project from the very start. When I heard that we could not use commercial airlines to get the whisky home and into the hands of our own whisky experts, I had no hesitation in offering the use of my private plane.”

Dr Mallya added: “Shackleton made history with his travels and adventures, and I am sure we will make history ourselves when we unlock the marvels of these unique 100 year old time capsules.”

Richard Paterson, Master Blender, Whyte & Mackay

“Never in the history of our industry have we had a century old bottle of whisky stored in a natural fridge and subjected to some of the harshest conditions on this planet,” enthused Paterson. “It is an absolute honour to be able to use my experience to analyse this amazing spirit for the benefit of the Trust and the whisky industry.”


The Great Whisky Thaw blog   


About Whyte & Mackay
Whyte & Mackay has an award winning portfolio of brands which include Jura single malt The Dalmore malt whisky, Glayva liqueur, Vladivar, Snow Leopard and Pinky vodkas and the flagship blend Whyte & Mackay.

Whyte & Mackay was founded on the docks of Glasgow in 1844 by James Whyte & Charles Mackay. Whyte & Mackay is now one of the most popular blended scotches in the world.

In 2007, Whyte & Mackay was acquired by the UB Group, one of India's largest conglomerates with diverse interests in aviation, brewing, distilling, engineering, fertilisers, biotechnology, information technology and real estate. Becoming part of United Spirits Limited means that Whyte & Mackay is now part of the world's second largest drinks group.

For more information on the UB Group or United Spirits please log on to  <>




Whyte and Mackay master blender, Richard Paterson with bottles of Shackleton whisky.

Whyte and Mackay master blender, Richard Paterson examines a bottle of the Shackleton whisky
Dr Vijay Mallya and Richard Paterson with a bottle of the Shackleton whisky

Dr Vijay Mallya with a bottle of the Shackleton whisky

A bottle of the whisky that accompanied Ernest Shackleton on his 1907 expedition to the Antarctic



Rob Bruce
Head of Global PR
Whyte & Mackay
Tel: + 44 (0)141 249 6358
Mob: +44 (0) 750 784 9831

Jill Inglis
Global PR Manager
Whyte & Mackay
Mob: +44 (0) 773 636 5247

Harry Hussain
Weber Shandwick
Tel: 0131 556 6649
Mob:  07525 903505

View media release online.