Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt feat. interview with Richard Paterson


Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt
Malt blend

90/100 (based on taste only)

Best served:

The story:



The Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt whisky has such a fascinating story that is shared in the above two videos, and, the above interview with Richard Paterson, Master Blender at Whyte & Mackay. The Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt is a recreation of the whisky that Sir Ernest Shackleton took with him to Antarctica in 1907, produced only after careful scientific analysis and matching with the original Mackinlay’s which was found in Antarctica in 2007 almost 100 years after Sir Ernest left it there. This whisky offers an enjoyable character that is rich, spicy, malty and flavoursome, but that is, so to speak, only the tip of the iceberg. The most important aspect of this whisky is not just its taste (which is very good mind you) but its story – it is one that sends the imagination off to 1908 Antarctica, savouring a recreation that Richard Paterson and some Independent people say is identical (to the average human nose and palate) to the whisky Sir Ernest and his team sipped over 100 years ago. Now, any whisky lover should appreciate that! 

What an amazing experience it is to smell and taste the Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt, and know that these aromas and flavours are what warmed Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew over a century ago on their courageous expedition to Antarctica.  

The great story behind this whisky gives it another dimension and special historical significance – it is more than a drink. 

Tasting notes:
Nose: This whisky immediately strikes me as spicy, with sharp blacked pepper and dusty nutmeg accompanying a rich maltiness that intermingles with toffee and subtle shades of vanilla. Then comes the citrus peel, fresh and tangy, in the form of blood orange – a dense, sweet yet bitter variety of citrus fruit.  Wisps of peat emerge with dry grass (anyone who has been tackled to a ground of dry grass will know this smell!), and the soft smell of damp mushroom boxes and some dough. After resting in the bottle a sweetness emerges in the form of glazed cherries and sherry, further adding to the bouquet as the sweetness counteracts some of the spiciness and maltiness. 

Taste: Mouth coating, rich and flavorsome, this whisky offers a medium-oily texture with great balance. It is, as the nose suggests, peppery and malty with shimmers of citrus peel but fresh ginger is more pronounced with a mild smokiness rolling over burnt toffee, bitter nut praline and buttery herb bread with shimmers of creamy banana.

Finish: Long and drying, vanilla and dusty cocoa proceed to the finish with some all spice and pickled ginger as the taste of the all spice lingers. Some citrus rind also develops on the finish, adding a sweet zesty tang. 

Would I have another dram? Yes

Would I buy a bottle? Yes

Complex, spicy, enjoyable, great story

£100 (UK), $200 (Aus)

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