Whiskers and whiskey on the rocks. If this sounds like a good time in a backwoods’ lodge, you might be right. But there’s another, very interesting, association to be made.
Between the late 1800s and 1914, 17 expeditions organized by 17 different countries traveled to Antarctica tasked with recording data to gain an understanding of the continent. And on 19 October 1908, British explorer Ernest Shackleton, along with a three-man team, embarked on the Nimrod Expedition: an ambitious undertaking to be the first to reach Antarctica’s South Pole, fulfilling a number of scientific and geographical objectives along the way. However, the expedition failed after Shackleton made the responsible call to avoid putting his men’s’ lives at risk during extreme weather conditions. The whiskered team left the continent on 4 March, 1909. In the race to the South Pole, Shackleton was beaten by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, but he eventually returned to Antarctica for other expeditions before his death in 1922.
Now, almost a century later, CyArk has started to digitally record three Antarctic expedition huts: Scott’s Hut, Discovery Hut and Shackleton’s Hut. Due to the subzero conditions of the region, the structures are particularly well preserved. The huts served as base camps for a number of major expeditions at the beginning of the 20th century. Discovery Hut was actually built in Antarctica during the Discovery Expedition of 1901-1904, and upon the expedition’s return, was left fully stocked for future expedition parties. Scott’s Hut was prefabricated in the United Kingdom and transported by ship to the southernmost continent. Interestingly, the hut was insulated with seaweed and according to the members of the expedition, was actually “warm to the point of uncomfortable.”
Shackleton’s hut is not only known for its role as a shelter for the Nimrod expedition; it’s also famous for the fact that five crates of McKinlay and Co. whiskey were buried in the ice under the hut. Discovered in 2006, the liquor was of particular interest to distillers Whyte and Mackay because the blend is now extinct and with a sample, there is a possibility of recreating it.
So if you want to see how whiskered heroes of the early 20th century lived while on expedition, keep an eye on MacKay’s distillery, as well as CyArk’s website, where 3D recreations of the expedition huts will be available to the public after the project’s completion.