Continuing with my push to finally finish my endeavour to review every whisky from my Whisky Advent Calendar from Master of Malt I now come to this dram (the name is in the title, I won't keep on typing it).
This whisky is a blend created to replicate a whisky that was discovered in 2007 that was abandoned by Sir Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica during his infamous and disaster laden expedition in the early 1900s.
To raise money for charity, Shackleton's grand-daughter has had a whisky created to replicate the flavours of that original bottle.
The story behind this dram is absolutely staggering, and if there's one surefire thing to sell a wine or spirit, it's a good story. Almost as amazing is the list of malts that make up this whisky: a 1980 Glen Mhor , some heavily-peated Dalmore, Glenfarclas, Mannochmore, Tamnavulin, Ben Nevis, Aultmore, Fettercairn, Pulteney and Jura. All of these were used to create a whisky that was bottled and carried most of the way to the pole almost a hundred years ago!
On the nose a smoky peat comes through, but this is lifted by a fruity sweetness mixed with nuts, raisins, caramel and vanilla. There's a marzipan like note with citrus peel and engine oil before the peat qualities re-surface again.
This isn't the deepest and most complex array of smells a dram has ever subjected me to, however, everything is wonderful balance and co-ordination. Nothing is out of kilter and there is pretty much something there for everyone and every mood you might have.
On the palate the peat again dominates at the beginning, before pepper, caramel, orange, vanilla and apple take over. This is a fairly full-bodied malt that is oily and coats the mouth. On the finish this is fairly sweet, but with a slight toasted nut, macaroon and bready quality added to it.
Again, like the nose this isn't hugely complex, but is fantastically well made and balanced. With the amount of different malts that went into the blend it wouldn't be at all difficult for this to become muddled and confused without a clear direction.
This is a great blended malt that I have really enjoyed and is something I would love to drink on a regular basis, but will probably be prevented by the price point of close to £100 a bottle. That being said, I may try to pick up a bottle to put away for a decade or two to revisit once I am in my forties and that Antarctic no longer exists. :'(
Mackinlay's Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt - The Journey is available from Master of Malt for £99 and would make a great gift for any travelling whisky buff or lover of exploring in general.
Also, if you would like to know more about Shackleton's journey, the Folio Society (a fine book producer I love dearly) have just recently produced a volume on the subject which can be found here - I'll be buying a copy.