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You know that fantastic feeling when you find an unopened bottle of liquor after a party because you bought a bunch and forgot just how many you had in the first place? Now imagine that bottle has been sitting in nature’s cooler for the last 100 years, just getting better and better with age. That’s essentially what the Antarctic Heritage Trust, a New Zealand-based organization, is going through right now.
After just over a century, three bottles of rare Scotch discovered beneath Ernest Shackelton’s abandoned expedition base have been flown to Scotland in order to recreate the recipe. The Scotch is being recreated in a limited edition of 50,000 bottles by the Distiller Whyte & Mackay. Let that sink in. We can clone alcohol. We are living in the future.
Shackelton, for those of you who spent sixth grade drawing dicks along the borders of your notebooks instead of paying attention to the lecture on Antarctic explorers, is one of the most famous figures from the “Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.”
Since just getting to the pole had already been done, by Roald Amundsen in 1912, Shackelton decided to try crossing the continent as an attempt to turn polar expedition into a world-renowned dick-measuring contest. Honestly, what other reason is there for doing this? If my elementary-school-level understanding of Antarctica is worth anything, the whole continent is nothing but penguins, penguin shit, and permafrost.
Probably because God hated him, Shackelton’s ironically-named ship Endurance was slowly crushed by the ice before reaching shore. Ultimately, Shackelton managed to get his entire crew back safely and was knighted, with the majority of his debts to investors in the expedition subsequently forgiven. But really, what in the fuck were they backing?
Of course, I’m of the slightly more controversial opinion that in light of this recent discovery, Shackelton’s knighthood be stripped. “No man left behind” includes liquor, you fucking commie. The only forgivable scenario is that when they were heading back, everyone was too shitfaced to remember that they still had three bottles left. Although, given accounts of Shackelton’s drinking later in life, this may have been the case.
Props to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who not only returned the stash to its original resting place, but also restrained himself from taking a swig. Now that’s some goddamn self-control. We all know how much they love booze in that part of the world. Drunk is their default setting.
“I think we’re all tempted to crack it open and have a little drink ourselves now,” Key joked at a ceremony handing over the bottles to Antarctic Heritage Trust officials at New Zealand’s Antarctic base on Ross Island.
Of course, “joked” probably means that he chuckled for a few seconds before he suddenly changed his mind and pulled a Bowie knife on the officials before security had to physically restrain him.
Despite being found frozen in ice in 2010, after 102 years, the bottles were still intact with the Scotch undisturbed inside. After over a century of subzero temperatures, the liquor did not freeze. Mother Nature threw her worst at the bottles, but they persevered because God obviously loves brown liquors.
Lizzie Meeks, the Antarctic Heritage Trust manager who was a member of the team that found Shackleton’s scotch, had this to say:
“When you’re used to working around things in that hut that perhaps are quite decayed and some of them don’t have very nice smells, it’s very nice to work with artifacts that have such a lovely aroma.”
To put that in context, imagine the smell of a good bottle of Scotch filling the entire room you’re in right now. Now imagine it’s smelled that way for the last 102 years, which would place it before the beginning of World War I. Like a manly Glade plug-in that’s lasted from your great-great-grandfather all the way to you. You have an erection yet? If you’re a red-blooded American man, you do.
So, in honor of Shackelton’s almost-achievement, pour yourself a nice glass of Scotch. Then leave the rest of it in your freezer and forget about it for the next 102 years or so.
Image via Schmoozd