Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky traces its roots back to 1907, when explorer Ernest Shackleton fortified his Antarctic expedition with several cases of his favorite whiskey from the Glen Mhor distillery in Inverness, Scotland.
Shackleton and his men ultimately failed to reach the South Pole, and they sailed for home in 1909, leaving behind three crates of the precious whiskey buried in ice. It stayed this way until 2007, when fortuitous members of the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust happened upon the hundred-year-old hooch.
Whyte & Mackay – owners of the Mackinlay brand – analyzed the remaining stock, and master blender Richard Paterson went to work recreating the resilient whiskey. He blended a handful of single malts from the closed-in-1983 Glen Mhor distillery, plus Speyside whiskies, island malts and The Dalmore malts to achieve the same flavor profile as the original. The result is Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky.
The shimmering, straw-colored spirit is soft on the nose, with lots of fruit notes – predominantly pears – plus light oak and vanilla. Take a sip and find a delicate, well-balanced whiskey offering plenty of honey, sherried oak, fruit and a touch of peat smoke. It’s incredibly easy on the palate, unleashing more flavors the longer you hold it in your mouth. It finishes long and gentle, with some heather and honeyed fruits.
Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky is a rare glimpse into the whiskey world of 100 years ago. And if this recreation is any indication, people drank pretty well back then. Given its story and arduous creation process, it’s not a cheap bottle. But it’s an elegant, flavorful whiskey that’s a great conversation piece.
– 47.3% Alcohol by Volume