From this Friday (28 July), bids with an expected starting price of £100 can be placed through Whisky Auctioneer for one of ten individually numbered bottles of the Polar Explorer single malt whisky. All monies raised from the auction of each bottle will directly benefit the work of The Polar Academy - a Scottish charity.
Following the auction, donations can also be made directly to the charity for one of an additional 190 bottles of the limited edition single malt whisky.
Craig Mathieson, Scotland’s greatest living polar explorer and one of only 12 polar explorers in the world to have skied to both the south and north poles, founded the charity in 2014. Its life-changing work helps young people afflicted by low self-esteem to unlock their potential and redefine their physical and mental limits through expeditions to the Arctic. The charity has already engaged more than 50,000 young people across Scotland.
Mathieson’s remarkable journeys have also inspired the Polar Explorer. It is the first single malt whisky from Scotland to reduce its natural cask strength to 50% ABV by incorporating water from Scotland and melted pure blue iceberg water from Greenland.
In the summer of 2016, while exploring by sea-kayak, Mathieson carefully collected samples of iceberg calved from the ancient glaciers and now adrift in the stunning and remote Sermilik Fjord. Meaning ‘place of glaciers’ in Greenlandic, its serene waters form one of the largest fjords on the south-eastern coast of Greenland.
The internationally acclaimed whisky expert Charles MacLean described the Polar Explorer as ‘a cracking dram’ and went on to explain: “It is a very interesting whisky with real depth and a very good texture. It’s an exceptionally good Port Charlotte with a base note of smoked honey glazed ham and salty seaweed. It was a real honour to meet Craig and learn more about his Polar exploration. I have scored the Polar Explorer an impressive 8.1 out of 10.”
The journey to produce every precious drop of the Polar Explorer single malt whisky began when a single sherry cask of matured Port Charlotte single malt whisky was generously gifted to Craig Mathieson by Steve Thom, a director of Edinburgh-based Cornhill Building Services Ltd. A heavily peated single malt whisky with a long finish, Port Charlotte is an expression expertly crafted by the renowned Bruichladdich Distillery on the Inner Hebridean Isle of Islay.
From the single privately owned cask of Port Charlotte, a limited number of bottles subsequently received the addition of pure iceberg water. A very small amount of ice was carefully hand harvested in the same way the local Inuit population has collected ice for water for centuries.
Mathieson, who is also the first Explorer in Residence of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in 129 years, has signed each individually numbered bottle of Polar Explorer. Designed by Wolffe in Edinburgh, Polar Explorer is presented in a wooden box and wrapped in an eye-catching sketch map of Arctic Greenland. The necktie and beautifully illustrated label tell the story of the explorer’s bonds to both the wild waters and landscapes of the Isle of Islay and Arctic Greenland.
Commenting on the launch of the Polar Explorer, Craig Mathieson said: “Supported by Trustees of The Polar Academy and private donors, today I am immensely proud to announce the first release of individually numbered and signed bottles of the Polar Explorer limited edition single malt whisky.
“The Polar Explorer is truly unique, a bottle that reflects both its spiritual home in the Isle of Islay and bond with the wild Arctic landscape. Both are close to my heart. To support the work of The Polar Academy, I invite purveyors of this fine single malt Scotch whisky to bid at auction, or subsequently make a donation to the charity for a bottle of the whisky and share my taste for a fine malt and adventure. Slainte!”
Polar Explorer – Tasting Notes
Courtesy of Blair Bowman, whisky consultant and author (www.blairbowman.com)
Colour: Bright copper
Nose: Salted caramel with macaroons and pear drops at first, followed by soot and sea salt. More green fruit notes, crisp granny smith apples and very tart gooseberries. Balanced with sweet and soft smoke.
Palate: A chewy and juicy mouth feel gives more delicious apples and pear notes, combined with burnt marshmallow and smouldering charcoal BBQ smoke. Followed by more sea spray, waxy ropes and oily soot.
Finish: A wonderfully long finish that perfectly balances elements of sweet and smoke.
Overall: A fantastic dram with plenty of fruitiness and smoke, though not too much smoke, to appeal to a wide variety of tastes. A cracking dram to sip and savour with friends after a meal (or after an arduous expedition!) letting the combination of sweet and smoke dance on your tongue.
About Craig Mathieson
After a career in the military, Mathieson went on to lead the first dedicated Scottish expedition to the South Pole in 2004, The Scot100 Expedition. The route took him from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. In temperatures below minus 55°C, he hauled a 180lb sledge for 56 days over a total distance of 730 miles.
He has since completed many expeditions, including skiing to the North Pole. Yet he gains the most satisfaction from training and inspiring the young adults he annually selects to join him on Arctic expedition in Greenland. It’s a life-changing journey for the participants, redefining their physical and mental limits. In the Arctic wilderness, self-confidence soars with every step.
The label of the Polar Explorer limited edition single malt whisky reads
‘Craig Mathieson’s senses are enlivened when paddling amidst Greenland’s icebergs and circumnavigating Islay’s challenging waters. Islands close to his heart, it’s fitting that every precious bottle from the Polar Explorer’s malt cask is informed by pure drops of iceberg and the sea air of the malt’s spiritual home. Slainte!