Booze Review

Whisky Review – Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky aka “The Shackleton Whisky”

Epic. Legendary. Two words that are often overused, but they most definitely apply when speaking of Sir Ernest Shackleton. I have been fascinated with the story of his Antarctic expedition ever since I saw a film called Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure at the National Geographic IMAX Theater in Victoria, British Columbia.

Since there has been a great deal published about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic, and the discovery and subsequent recreation of his favorite whisky, I won’t bore you with a history lesson. I will instead point you in the direction of NOVA Online for more about Shackleton’s adventures in Antarctica (click here to visit the NOVA website), and to the New York Times for more about the making of this whisky (click here to read their excellent article).

Let’s get down to the business at hand…

The 50ml sample that I received from the Baddish Group.

  • Appearance: Golden yellow.
  • Aroma: Very fresh and fragrant on the nose. Eucalyptus. Vanilla. Fresh whipped cream. Toffee. A touch of smoke.
  • Taste: Medium bodied whisky, i.e. not watery, but not oily or syrupy either. That first sip immediately tingles the tip of my tongue. The smokiness is a bit more apparent in the taste, but not at all overwhelming. There is quite a bit of peppery spiciness, coupled with some light brown sugar sweetness from beginning to end. Very smooth and easy drinking. Sweet/peppery finish that lingers for a really long time.
  • ABV: 47.3%

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this whisky. There was a good bit of hype thanks to all of the media coverage, so I was truly expecting to be disappointed by the Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt. Thankfully, Richard Patterson, Master Blender for Whyte & Mackay, did a fabulous job of creating a whisky that is a true pleasure to drink. Sir Ernest Shackleton would be pleased.

Thanks to Sara of The Baddish Group for sending me this sample.

28 replies »

  1. I recently read the book “Endurance” which gives a fascinating, detailed account of the adventure. Epic indeed. I’ve mentioned the whisky a few times myself, so I won’t rehash other than to say that I think it was a somewhat exploitative exercise. Glad the liquid measures up though.


    • I read your Shackleton whisky article. I can totally understand your point of view. But who’s to say what’s a fair contribution? Whisky is a business after all. I will say this, regardless of how much they make on this product, it is a very delicious product.

      And for anyone that would like to chime in on this part of the discussion , click here to read Patrick’s post about the Shackleton whisky.


      • Hey G-LO, I somehow missed this comment :(. Anyhow, I’m not suggesting that W&M shouldn’t be making a satisfyingly large profit. However, given that they owe both this opportunity and the publicity with which they exploited it to the Trust, the pittance that they shared is definitely not fair. The guys at the Trust are obviously not businessmen, or good negotiators.


      • It’s all good Patrick! You bring up some very good points. With regards to poor negotiating, this is exactly what has happened to my employer. About 15 years ago, one “company” split into two, yet we are still joined at the hip since we essentially share employees. We’ve both had our fiscal ups and downs, and unfortunately, my side of the business is “getting screwed” by the other side of the business. To be honest, I don’t think it’s a case of getting screwed. Much like the W&M / Trust situation, my side simply negotiated poorly. Too bad, so sad! All I can say is, when the current contracts expire, lawyer up!


    • WW! They launched in the US back in October or November. Goes for between $150 and $200. I’m sure it’s available in NYC. Twas a tasty whisky. Sounds like our friend Miracle Max is willing to share some with us, so I will hopefully be trying it again one day soon.


      • Oh man, I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster since the Fall … and this totally fell off my radar! (well that and the fact that it’s a bit out of my price range at the moment) I’ll hope for you that you get to try it again soon, too! In the mean time, looks like I’ll have to find an open bottle somewhere nearby and get it out of the clutches of a guarded bar tender long enough for a tiny sip! 🙂


        • Well… I’d say that attending whisky awards in Louisville and touring distilleries around the world is a bit more interesting than just sampling the latest and greatest whisky that hits the market. As far as the price goes, I actually expected it to be somewhat more expensive. Not that $150 for a bottle is cheap or anything. I just expected it to sell for much more. It’s a bit out of my price range as well.


      • As always, what’s mine is yours! BTW – I also have the Bruichladdich “Peat” Single Malt and Compass Box Peat Monster Reserve Edition I was telling you about the other day. I’ll try not to drink it all before we have time to share. Well, I can’t promise that I’ll try. But I’ll try to try. 🙂


        • Here’s a more important question… when are you going to write a post? You do have an open invitation after all. You could write an homage to The Grey Lodge!


  2. Start a blog, No! I wouldn’t even know how to make one. Drinking is fun, writing is work, a blog with one post would be sad. 😦 I would feel like I had to keep writing new posts with an ever impending deadline. Hey, I’m too lazy to pick an avatar so I have something that looks like a Dorito that is being goosed. 😉
    Here is some more light reading.


    • Who said anything about you starting your own blog? Like we need more competition from people that actually know what they’re talking about. Silly man. I meant write a guest post.


      • A couple things…

        I invited you to be an author back when we first started, and it appears as though you already accepted, so you already have Editor status, which means you can add a “New Post” whenever you like.

        You not only brought us some great beers the other night, you also entertained us with your numerous beer and whisky experiences, i.e. various installments of Stone Soup, that CRAZY homebrew that you concocted, the whisky estate sale, early visits to WhiskyFest NYC, and so much more. Any one of those would make a great post. Want something easy? Take some pictures of your beer and whisky vault and give us an inventory (just don’t release your address or you might have some B&E activity at your home), or better yet, tell us how you came to acquire the hard to find stuff, i.e. bargaining with liquor stores, rounding up some fellow enthusiasts and splitting a case, etc.. It’s totally up to you. Have some fun with it.

        Should you decide to write something, just let me know if you have any problems working with WordPress. Writing on here is super easy. I have never used Word and simply type on here and keep it as a draft until I think it’s ready to go. Adding hyperlinks and images is super easy too. This is what cloud computing is all about! Once I’m done, I set the date and time when I want it to post and then schedule it. Super easy.

        I’m about as lazy as they come and find this to be an absolute blast (responding to comments and taking/editing photos are the most fun. Writing can be torture at times, but I still enjoy it). Let us know when you’re ready!


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