Whisky Magazine Issue 124
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Ardbeg and its journey through space
The Islay distillery of Ardbeg has proved adept at generating positive publicity ever since it was rescued from silence by The Glenmorangie Company in 1997, but it has surpassed itself with the headlines garnered during the past few months along the lines of ‘Ardbeg in space.'
On 12th September a vial of Ardbeg spirit re-entered the earth's atmosphere after spending almost three years aboard the International Space Station. For lovers of minutiae, that means the vial orbited the earth's atmosphere at 17,227 miles per hour, 15 times a day for a total of 1,045 days. Back on earth, a control sample of the same spirit was less energetic, spending its time in Warehouse No. 3 at Ardbeg distillery.
So is there any real purpose to this exercise, other than to generate lots of media interest for the Ardbeg brand. According to Dr. Bill Lumsden, head of distilling and whisky creation at The Glenmorangie Company, “It's genuinely scientific and certainly not a marketing gimmick. Nanorex is the company which organises all the experimentation on the Space Station, and they are big Ardbeg fans, so they asked if there was something they could do with us.
“We sent the spirit with new ex-Bourbon barrel shavings, and I'm analysing the samples on an organoleptic and chromatographic basis. I'm hoping that the whole thing might lead to new expressions or new techniques. We've had a huge amount of international publicity over it, and we chose to re-release a variant of Supernova (SN 2014) t...