Orkney-based Highland Park, Scotland's northernmost distillery, has announced plans to open a distillery in the South Orkney Islands,Antarctica, creating the southernmost Scotch whisky distillery in the world.
The South Orkney Islands have been part of the British Antarctic Territory since 1962 and because of its British ownership the Scotch Whisky Association has agreed to allow the whisky to be labelled 'Scotch Whisky'.
Gavin Hewitt, Chief Executive of The Scotch Whisky Association, said: "The team at Highland Park are so passionate about creating a distillery on the British Antarctic islands, we simply couldn't resist giving them the seal of approval. The Orcadians seem to thrive in extreme weather conditions and I'm sure they will have many adventures in the Antarctic. In the meantime, we'll continue to enjoy whisky from northern latitudes."
Gerry Tosh, Highland Park Head of Brand Education, has travelled the world but this is by far the most remote location he has visited. Gerry comments: "I am just back from my second trip to the South Orkney Islands and still amazed by the rough elements and extreme weather conditions with gales reaching 120 miles per hour - just like Orkney!
"The islands are ice-locked from April to November so you can only travel there three months of the year. During my first visit in early December 2008 I spent weeks searching for the perfect spot to set up the distillery.
"In high summer there is no shortage of water in the area and we are currently analysing its suitability. Some treatment may be required to remove fish detritus. However, barley will be shipped in from our sister distillery Tamdhu and Distillery Manager Russell Anderson will bring a quantity of yeast with him as hand luggage. I'm hoping Still Maker Richard Forsyth can join me on my next trip to plan the plant."
The South Orkney Islands are located at almost the same latitude south as the Scottish based Orkney Islands are north (60Â°S vs 59Â°N), although it is not known if this was a factor behind the naming of the islands.