December 27, 2011

Instant ancient whisky

MANY OF THE BEST-APPOINTED YACHTS have medicine cabinets containing Mackinlay's whisky. This particular brand of Scotch seems to be much in demand to combat the effects of head colds, general lassitude, lowered spirits, and other yachting maladies. It was with some interest, therefore, that I spotted this news report from Agence France Presse. It was published on January 17, 2011:

WELLINGTON (AFP) – Three bottles of whisky abandoned in Antarctica by British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton more than a century ago will be sent to Scotland for scientific analysis, reports said Friday.

The bottles of Mackinlay's whisky were part of a cache recovered last year from beneath Shackleton's Antarctic hut, built in 1908 as part of his failed attempt to reach the South Pole, national news agency NZPA reported.

It said the whisky would be sent to the Whyte & Mackay distillery in Scotland, which now owns the Mackinlay's brand, where it would be analyzed in an attempt to recreate the original recipe.

--You will have realized by now that almost a whole year has passed and no scientific report on Sir Ernest's whisky has been forthcoming. This is very suspicious. What do you imagine has happened to those three well-matured bottles of whisky?

I can see them now in my mind's eye, those scientists, I mean, standing around in their white lab coats along the flaring Bunsen burners and steaming test tubes, taking a wee doech an doris, and another wee doech an doris, and toasting the good taste of the Shackleton expedition, until the inevitable happened.

And yet, by some miracle of alcoholic osmosis, there is now on the market a product advertised as Mackinlay's Rare Old Highland Malt, which, it is claimed, is a meticulous re-creation of the original malt whisky shipped to Antarctica in 1907 by the explorer Ernest Shackleton to fortify his 'Nimrod' expedition.

Less than a year after they allegedly re-discovered the recipe, they have a rare old malt whisky ready for sale. The web advertisement says:

"The story of how several wooden crates of this precious whisky were abandoned to the Antarctic winter in early 1909, then rediscovered over a century later, is one that celebrates the enduring spirit of both man and malt. You can read all about the journey and re-discovery on this site, and we also reveal how this unique whisky was carefully re-created for you to savour and enjoy."

Well, I still harbor my suspicions. I was brought up to be very skeptical about advertising. I wouldn't let a drop of this new/old whisky pass my lips until I had seen the scientific analysis.

And there's another thing that worries me. If the original whisky was so precious, why didn't Sir Ernest and his gallant Nimrods drink it? Just asking.

Today's Thought
Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say I'm thirsty, not dirty.
— Joe E. Lewis

Two Wall Street CEOs walked into a car showroom.
"How much is the Rolls-Royce?" asked one.
"Three hundred thousand," said the salesman.
"I'll take it," said the CEO, pulling out a checkbook.
"No, no," said his friend brushing him aside. "This one's on me. You bought lunch."

No comments: