New Zealand Prime Minister John Key recently returned three bottles of Scotch whiskey to the ice from which they were discovered. The bottles were a part of the supplies used to equip Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod Polar Expedition of 1907-09. Originally bottled in 1898, they remained unopened, but had been flown to Scotland for analysis. The three bottles were of the Mackinlay brand, and the distiller Whyte & Mackay, who now own the Mackinlay label, injected a syringe through the cork of one bottle, extracting a sample which was used to create a duplicate spirit. A limited run of 50,000 bottles was produced and sold at roughly $160/bottle.
The thing is, the chemical composition may have been identical, but nobody actually tasted the whiskey that was extracted. As a result, nobody knows if the limited-run spirits are actually identical.
As discerning alcoholics, I think we’re qualified to pass judgement on this phenomenon. What say you, Toasterites? I admit, I am somewhat tempted by this whiskey, as I a huge fan of Scotch; if I were buying some, why not buy some with a bit of a story behind it? At the same time however, it’s not that the original Scotch on which it was based was particularly special. Is it worth paying a premium for a beverage whose claim to fame is merely fame itself, or should we reserve our money for either higher qualities, or higher quantities, of other liquors?