Category / Drink

Shackleton Whisky

I love a spirit with a story, and Shackleton Whisky is a cracker.

It all started in 1907 when the Polar Explorer, Ernest Shackleton launched his bid to be the first person to reach the Geographic South Pole.  The trip, known as ‘Nimrod’ was in part a success, but Shackleton abandoned it with just 97 nautical miles to go.  Although he didn’t succeed, Shackleton returned to Britain a hero.

Fast forward to 2010 when the Antarctic Heritage Trust in New Zealand began to restore his abandoned base camp.  Conservators found five crates under the ice.  Three contained Mackinlay’s whisky and two contained brandy.  Eleven bottles of the 114-year old whisky were still in their paper and straw packaging, albeit frozen.

Shackleton Whisky

Shackleton Whisky

Three bottles were flown from New Zealand,  to undergo both sensory and organoleptic analysis.

In April 2011, Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay’s Master Blender, replicated the century-old whisky and gave it the same name as the original, Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt and The Journey, was released soon after.  Now, a no-age-statement blend, inspired by Shackleton and his love of Mackinlay’s Scotch.  A small percentage of each sale goes directly to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.


Shackleton Whisky


Tim Jarvis is the global brand ambassador for Shackleton Whisky.  In 2013 the environmental explorer and motivational speaker recreated Shackleton’s dangerous 1914-17 Trans-Antarctic Expedition – known as one of the greatest small-boat journeys undertaken.


The whisky is a mix of single Highland malts, stored in ex-bourbon barrels and Spanish sherry butts.   And, for £40 for a litre bottle, I think you’re getting a lot for your money.  It’s a tasty number. On the nose, you get hints of demerara sugar and malted cinnamon.  On the palate, it’s orange, apple and honey.  It’s a short finish with hints of Werther’s Originals and marmalade.

I have a thing for whisky, take a look at my visit to Islay.

Review: Pothecary Gin

I just can’t keep up with the amount of gin being made here in the UK.  But good gin is a different kettle of spirit and well worthy of note.  Get a pen and paper because you’ll want to write this down … Pothecary Gin.

Review: Pothecary Gin


The spare bedroom takes on many uses, but one particular house in Bournemouth used theirs to house a 35-litre copper still.  It’s here Pothecary Gin began life.  After a lengthy process, HMRC granted them the licence to distill their spirit.  From here, they began developing the gin that is picking up well-respected awards all over the world.  Lukasz Dwornik and Martin Jennings had, like we’ve all had I’m sure, a gin and tonic at the local which didn’t taste of well …. anything.  They decided to develop their gin which began life rather crudely, now their spirit is very much the opposite.


In their 35-litre copper still, they distill Bulgarian-grown Juniper, and in a 3.5-litre pot still, they distill their botanicals.  It’s blended and watered down to drinking strength and bottled.  Those botanicals are quite unusual.  Provencal lavender brings savoury notes, mulberries, sweet and jammy taste, tilia flowers, honey and Sicilian lemon a little sweet-tartness.  They’ve dabbled in a limited edition Sicilian Blend which takes the base and adds Sicilian orange peel, almonds and Gentian root.  I bet this is a winner, orange citrus on the nose with lemon at the back and the every present Juniper.  They’ve made only 982 bottles.

Pothecary Sicilian Blend

The serve

The original gin is an enjoyable drinking experience, both neat over ice and with tonic.  I know the recommended serve is with Double Dutch tonic but Fever Tree is my go to and works well.  For me, a thin peel of pink grapefruit is a good partner.  Sniff the balloon glass, and you’ll get honey with that recognisable Juniper.  In the mouth, it’s smooth yet bold and a real favourite as it falls into the citrus and floral category.

Pothecary Gin

I’ve had a bit of a gin-clearout.  So many bottles, so little time but this is one that will be ever present and it’s a great gifting gin.