The famous tale of how a group of Scottish islanders raided a shipwreck for its consignment of 24,000 cases of whisky has grown into a legend.
In 1941, the cargo ship SS Politician was en-route from Liverpool to New Orleans when it ran aground and sank off the coast of the Scottish island of Eriskay. The SS Politician had been carrying £3 million of Jamaican banknotes and 24,000 cases of premium strength blended Scotch Whisky. Desperate for a dram during the drought of the second world war, the local islanders wasted no time in salvaging as much of the amber nectar from the wreckage as they could.
Over the following weeks, local police and customs officers began scouring the island for traces of the estimated 2,000 cases that had been retrieved from the ship. Under hot pursuit, the islanders were forced to find increasingly elaborate hiding places for the ‘liberated’ bottles.
Despite searching many crofts, the whisky proved far too well hidden and very little was ever recovered.
In 1947, Compton Mackenzie immortalised the events in his highly successful book, Whisky Galore. Two years later, the well known film of the same name was released, taking the story to a worldwide audience.