Shackleton’s Whisky for Fathers Day


During my 4 years writing Edinburgh Whisky Blog, I have received countless emails with Father’s Day whisky deals, recommendations and cocktail ideas from retailers, PR people and assorted others involved in the whisky business. It makes sense, what else would you get the old man on Father’s day?

I normally ignore these emails, as my Father sadly died a few years ago, so generally on Father’s day, I grumble about life before wandering to my local boozer where I have a few pints and a dram to toast to my Dad. For people who have suffered loss, I think you will understand. It takes a long time for grief to pass and for you to be happy on Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Christmas Day and all the other family days. I realised recently though, that one of the main reasons I get grumpy really isn’t anything to-do with a dislike for such days. The reason I get annoyed is that I miss him. I’m sad that he can’t have a wee dram with me, that I can’t bend his ear for advice and that he isn’t around.

This year, I was going to ignore Father’s day, like I do every year, but then I saw an email about a new book: The Shackleton Whisky , and I decided I would write about Father’s Day this year. The title Shackleton Whisky refers to Ernest Shackleton’s epic voyage to try to reach the South Pole, and the whisky he took with him to keep his crew’s spirits up (he wasn’t much of drinker, but I’m sure his crew were). It was a terribly arduous, ultimately failed trip, and the book charts this trip, with particular emphasis on the whisky (Mackinley’s Glen Mhor) he took with him. The reason there is so much emphasis on the whisky, is that after failing to reach the pole, they sailed home, leaving 3 cases of this whisky buried in the ice. Those cases were found a 100 years later, with some bottles perfectly intact, from which a sample was extracted, and a replica was created and blended by Richard Paterson of Whyte & Mackay (using Glen Mhor, Dalmore and more).


What does that have to-do with my Father and my changing attitude to Father’s day? Well, you see, when my Father was a young man, he was in the Merchant Navy, and travelled all over the world, seeing all sorts of ports in South America, before they went further south to Antarctica. I remember as a small child, he showed me amazing slides of  Blue Whales, icebergs, ships and more icebergs. He never told me all the stories about all his different scrapes in South America, just some (my Mum filled me in with some of the more wild stories when I was a bit older) but overall, my lasting memories of him were of a man with a sense of adventure,a drive to work hard and a guy who enjoyed a tipple (all which have been passed on to me)

He was my hero, and I’ll always remember him as my hero. On Father’s day, I am going to continue reading Shackleton’s Whisky (by Neville Peat), as I am sure my Dad would have enjoyed this book, and I will try the 2nd edition of the Shackleton Whisky (the Journey), as I’m sure if my old man were about, we would sit, have a few drams and he would tell me sailing stories and probably show me a few more of those iceberg slides.

Gone, but never forgotten.

Chris Hoban

P.S: If you are after the Shackleton Whisky and a copy of the book for Father’s Day, you can buy the bottle of the 1st edition (the Discovery) at the Whiski Rooms and it comes with the book free (I think they’ll be getting the 2nd edition of the whisky in soon). It would definitely have to be a Fathers Day & Birthday present, and I’m sure my old man would lecture me on the amount of money I spend on Whisky. Probably a lecture I deserve, but that I wouldn’t listen to.


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