100 year old whiskey from Shackleton’s hut and a shipwreck gives three 200 year old champagnes

I am not sure if being frozen for 100 years adds to the process of ageing in a whiskey and in any case ageing usually only takes place in a cask and not in the bottle. Even ageing in a cask is said to be negligible after about 20 years. Champagne however should not benefit from ageing of more than a few years and even a 10 year old champagne may be little better than vinegar. So the value of a 200 year old champagne is historic rather than intrinsic. Shackleton’s whiskey will of course be valued on the historical importance though it may well be very drinkable.

From Discovery News:

Three bottles of whisky abandoned in the Antarctic ice by British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton have been returned to Scotland.

  • The bottles, from the British Antarctic Expedition 1907, were frozen solid at minus 30 degrees Celsius temperatures but the whisky inside was still liquid.
  • The bottles of Mackinlay’s were part of a cache recovered last year from beneath Shackleton’s Antarctic hut.
  • Tests are now under way to see how the whisky fared after being preserved in the polar chill for so long.

The bottles of Mackinlay’s 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. They made it home Monday to Whyte and Mackay, the brand’s owner, for analysis to see how they have fared after so long preserved in the polar chill.

The wooden crate containing the whisky, marked British Antarctic Expedition 1907, was frozen solid in the minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures but the whisky in the bottles was still liquid. Two more crates of whisky, along with two of brandy, were also discovered but they were left under the floorboards of the hut.  The whisky is believed to have been bottled in Scotland in 1896 or 1897, making it among the oldest in the world. Richard Paterson, Whyte and Mackay’s master blender, said the analysis would be “for the benefit of the whisky industry”.

Also from Discovery News:

Champagne experts have discovered what are believed to be the oldest existing bottles of Heidsieck champagne, salvaged from a shipwreck near the Finnish province of Aaland, local authorities said Monday. Divers stumbled across a cargo of around 150 champagne bottles last July in a two-masted schooner which had run aground sometime between 1825 and 1830, and by last November experts had already identified the world’s oldest Juglar and Veuve Clicquot brands among the bottles. “When re-corking the almost 200-year-old bottles a third brand has now been discovered,” Aaland authorities said in a statement.

Four bottles have been identified as having come from the Heidsieck & Co Monopole house, which is now owned by Vranken Pommery Monopole. Juhlin, who has been helping local authorities re-cork and catalogue the champagnes, added that only one of the Heidsieck bottles was in prime condition.

“The Heidsieck Monopole is around 75 percent pinot noir… It has some flower notes, slightly more toasty notes than the Veuve Clicquot,” he said. Juhlin said he couldn’t put an exact price on the Heidsieck, but said he would not be surprised if it turned out to be the most sought-after and expensive of the three brands. He had earlier estimated that the bubbly from Veuve Clicquot and the now-extinct Juglar could fetch up to 100,000 euros (132,000 dollars) per bottle.


Tags: , , , , , ,


%d bloggers like this: