Since we launched Ardbeg’s first whisky experiment into space in 2011 – in the shape of vials of Ardbeg-crafted molecules – it has been orbiting the planet on the International Space Station at 17,227 miles per hour, 15 times a day.
To re-cap, the vials contained a class of compounds known as ‘terpenes.’ Ardbeg was invited by US based space research company NanoRacks LLC to take part in testing these micro organic compounds in a maturation experiment (the interaction of these compounds with charred oak) between normal gravity on Earth and micro- gravity i.e. space.
The experiment is on-going. And much has happened aboard the ISS since Ardbeg was ensconced within. The world’s first robotic astronaut, 33cm high Kirobo, sent a plea back to earth for his assigned human companion – astronaut Koichi Wakata – to join him. ISS resident, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield racked up more than 18 million views on YouTube with his version of Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’. And in November, the Winter Olympics torch popped in for a space walk on its ‘round the world’ relay.
However, it’s not just all fun and games aboard the ISS. No, there is serious scientific work in strict laboratory conditions to be carried out, both up there and down here in Warehouse 3 at the Distillery on Islay. It’s the first time anyone has studied the effects of zero-gravity on maturation. The experiment is due to arrive back on Earth in 2014 where the maturation secrets of the universe will be revealed.
Until then, please pop back here occasionally (aka Mission Control) and we’ll reveal more spacey secrets…