Shackleton’s Antarctic whisky raided. Not by me, honest!

A quick update here, by way of test posting simultaneously to thenightjar.posterous.com and www.antarcticodyssey.wordpress.com.

I wrote a while ago on the Antarctica blog, about discovery of the Antarctic explorer Shackleton’s whisky stash from the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907. Now the crate has been carefully thawed out, it seems one of the bottles is missing. It wasn’t me; we weren’t in that part of Antarctica. However, the labels are fairly well preserved, and reveal the whisky to be a Chas. Mackinlay & Co. bottling called Rare Old Highland Malt.

White and Mackay, the present owners of the Chas. Mackinlay brand, plan to take small samples from the century-old bottles and reproduce the whisky. Richard Paterson (aka The Nose), who is master blender at W&M, on his blog says, once conservation is complete and samples taken, the crate of eleven bottles will be returned to Antarctica.

I would love to get my hands on the new bottling and take it down there to sample.

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The Hjärta is delivered

The Hjärta has landed! Anders Jonasson of the Box Whisky, the Swedish malt whisky company hands over the bottle of Highland Park “Hjärta” to Cim in Östersund. This special bottle of whisky is a gift from Cim and me to Cim’s brother Jonas, to ceebrate the five years since Jonas donated a kidney to Cim.

The Highland Park Hjärta arrives in Östersun

Anders Jonasson hands over the Hjärta to Cim

The Hjärta, which means “heart” in Swedish, is a limited edition bottling for the Nordic market and seemed like the perfect choice for Jonas. You’d think, being made for Swedes it would be easy to get hold of in Sweden. Oh no…

In fact, this bottle was imported to Norway by the drinks company Maxxium, and bought for us by Jonathan di Blasi of Leikanger, Norway. Jonathan’s colleague Thomas drove it to Stockholm, handed it over to Angela d’Orazio of Mackmyra Whisky. She gave it to Tore Forsgren, who was driving north for Christmas, however, not to Östersund.

Luckily, through Angela’s whisky connections, she contacted Anders Jonasson who’s mum lives in the same street as Jonas, and he was driving up from Kramfors to Östersund, just at the point where he could make the pick-up from Tore. So, finally on 29 December, the prized, and much-driven bottle eventually finds its way to Jonas, who promptly declared it was too precious to drink. Of course, I was not going to listen to that!

See the beginning of the story:

Celebrating Jonas: 5 Years since Cim’s Transplant

December 8 is a happy anniversary for Cim and me. Five years ago today, Cim received a kidney from her brother Jonas, in St George’s Hospital, Tooting, South London. To say that this event – this extraordinary act of brotherly generosity – transformed our lives is about as understated as you can get.

I had my hair cut. When I got back to the hospital, Jonas had just come round from the operation, and it made me very happy that he was well enough to compliment me. I knew then, that everything would be fine. And so it has turned out to be. Tack Jonas!

Highland Park Hjärta

Skål Jonas! Thanks from me.

I will be acknowledging Jonas this year by sending him some malt whisky, this time a special bottling from the Highland Park distillery on the Scandinavian-influenced Orkney Islands. The bottling is called “Hjärta” which is the Swedish for “heart”. I could think of only one name that might be more appropriate, but somehow Njure* doesn’t sound as appetising.

Cim and her brother continue to be well. Cim was even described as “super-normal” by one renal doctor. We will spend new year with Jonas, his partner Maria and their one-year-old daughter Stella. I hope he saves me a dram!

As well as the gratitude I feel – we  feel, I am also glad. As one of my friends put it, progress often gets a bad press, but I’m glad that such a serious condition as renal failure can be treated so successfully. Grateful, because Cim is one of the lucky ones never having to sit on a waiting list waiting for an organ,

It would make us even more glad if you register for the organ donor register. Thanks to all of you who have already done so.

*Njure = Kidney, if you hadn’t guessed