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More whisky, brandy found in Antarctica

Tsehai Tiffin

Published: 7:27PM Saturday February 06, 2010 Source: ONE News

The story about Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton's whisky on ice has gotten even better.

A team of conservators in Antarctica have not only been able to retrieve the two crates of Scotch whisky buried for a 100 years at Cape Royds on Ross Island, in deep ice; they have also discovered another brew.

When conservators began excavating the two crates of apparently forgotten century-old whisky from under Shackleton's hut, their aim was simply to get the boxes out intact. 

"We were lying on our stomachs on the permafrost completely under the hut removing the ice enclosing the boxes, to say it was a pleasant job would be untrue," says Al Fastier of the NZ Antarctic Heritage Trust.

For three days they chipped their way closer and closer to the crates. Their efforts were more than rewarded, with what they have now stored carefully away.

"We got the two boxes out and were very excited and pleased with ourselves and then we looked through the layer of ice behind the second box and could see through the opaque ice the words whisky again," says Fastier.

Not only an extra crate of whisky, but two more of brandy would follow. 

"There's still liquid sloshing around indicates that there's alcohol in the bottles and we can see the neck of one bottle and it's still got a lead seal around the cork," says Fastier.

The bottles were wrapped in straw and they are believed to be part of 25 cases donated to Shackleton for the first expedition he lead.

One of the crates is personally labelled for another member of the expedition team - a Professor TW David.

The interest in this has been huge - particularly from Scotland where the makers of the original whisky want to get a sample so they can try to recreate the recipe.

There are no plans to move the stash. The boxes will remain frozen on the ground there, until they have worked out exactly how to conserve them.

The camp at Cape Royds plan to raise a glass to Shackleton and his loyal men and celebrate their historic find with a much younger drop.