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Ardbeg Distillery on Islay provides crafted molecules in a "World First" Space Experiment - 10th April, 2012

Pioneering research project on board International Space Station set to be unveiled at Edinburgh’s International Science Festival on Tuesday 10 April

Ardbeg crafted Molecules in SpaceIn the headlong rush of science…in the late autumn of 2011…a rocket ship blasted off from Earth at 25,000 mph.

Deep within it no ordinary cargo; for the rocket carried research vials of precious Ardbeg-crafted molecules, the beginning of a fascinating first – a research experiment by Ardbeg...in space!

This is the most audacious adventure ever undertaken by Ardbeg Distillery – or any other distillery for that matter – and it is set to be unveiled at Edinburgh’s International Science Festival on Tuesday 10 April.

Ardbeg is taking part in an experiment led by US-based space research company NanoRacks LLC to test these micro-organic compounds. The maturation experiment will test the interaction of these Ardbeg-crafted molecules with charred oak. This will take place in normal gravity on Earth and also microgravity, far up in space on the International Space Station.

The vials contain a class of compounds known as “terpenes” – a set of chemicals which are very widespread in nature and often very aromatic and flavour-active – as well as other molecules. It is the interaction of these molecules with oak wood that forms the basis of this maturation experiment.

This is believed to be the first time anyone has ever studied terpenes and other molecules in near zero-gravity.

This experiment could explain the workings of these large, complex molecules as they will remain on the International Space Station for at least two years and help uncover new truths about the change that these molecules undergo in this near zero-gravity environment.

It could also have applications for a variety of commercial and research products, including future generations of Ardbeg.

A photo of the Ardbeg Distillery on IslayWorking in close collaboration with the Ardbeg Distillery team in Scotland, the US team will closely monitor the experiment against control samples here on Earth; both in Houston, Texas at the NanoRacks' facility, and also in Warehouse 3 at Ardbeg Distillery on the Scottish island of Islay.

Michael Johnson, Chief Technical Officer of NanoRacks LLC, said: “By doing this microgravity experiment on the interaction of terpenes and other molecules with the wood samples provided by Ardbeg we will learn much about flavours, even extending to applications like food and perfume. At the same time it should help Ardbeg find new chemical building blocks in their own flavour spectrum.”   

From the Ardbeg side the experiment is being led by Dr Bill Lumsden, Head of Distilling and Whisky Creation at Ardbeg, and widely considered one of the leading innovators in his industry. A chemist by training, Dr Lumsden will unveil the initiative at the Edinburgh International Science Festival on Tuesday 10 April in a talk entitled “Whisky Wisdom – Scotch Whisky; Science, Art or Myth?”

He explained: “This experiment will throw new light on the effect of gravity on the maturation process. We are all tremendously excited by this experiment: who knows where it will lead?”

This historic step for a Scottish Distillery will also allow Ardbeg to reach out to scientific bodies across Scotland and throughout the world with regular updates on progress.

<< See the range of Ardbeg Single Malt Whisky

You can read more about Ardeg Distillery on the distillery website.

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Whisky Advent Calendars

Are we looking for the unique whisky advent calendar for the run-up to Christmas? With 24 whiskies in each all with different types of whisky, you know you're in for a treat. We have over 50 calendars that can be bought online that contain whisky and other spirits. To see the full section, please go to Whisky Advent Calanders on Planet Whiskies.

The Whisky Shop Advent Calendar 2019

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American Whiskey, Bourbon & Rye Advent Calendar (2019 Edition) Blended Whisky
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Japanese Whisky Advent Calendar (2019 Edition) Blended Whisky ~ 44.9% ~ 72cl

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Premium Whisky Advent Calendar (2019 Edition) Blended Whisky
Premium Whisky Advent Calendar (2019 Edition) Blended Whisky ~ 46% ~ 72cl

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Loch Fyne Whiskies

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Have you seen all the whisky specials on offer at Loch Fyne Whiskies in Inveraray? All orders placed have next day delivery. Click to discover all these fantastic offers... Read More

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Gordon & MacPhail Reveals Unique Single Malts For Christmas: Malts from Old Pulteney and Glenlivet

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Single malt whisky creator Gordon & MacPhail has unveiled a duo of special bottlings from its iconic Connoisseurs Choice range for Christmas gifting. Read more

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Islay whisky collection up for auction in aid of RNLI: A Group of seven malt whiskies from each of Islay’s coastal distilleries Goes Under The Hammer

Group of seven malt whiskies from each of Islay’s coastal distilleries Goes Under The Hammer for RNLI

The Islay Sea Collection, a group of seven malt whiskies from each of Islay’s coastal distilleries presented in a one of a kind display case is set to go under the hammer in this month’s Just Whisky auction with all proceeds going to the Portrush and Islay volunteer lifeboat crews. Read more

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VisitScotland Interactive Whisky Guide

Visit Scotland Interactive Whisky Map

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Some Scottish Whisky Available to Buy Online

The Macallan Diamond Jubilee Single Malt Whisky
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Glenfarclas 1972 (cask 3548) Family Cask Winter 2015 Release Single Malt Whisky
Glenfarclas 1972 (cask 3548) Family Cask Winter 2015 Release Single Malt Whisky ~ 45.6% ~ 70cl

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Old Pulteney Twin Pack Single Malt Whisky
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Glenlochy 35 Year Old 1980 (cask 3232) - Cask Strength Collection Rare Single Malt Whisky
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Glenfiddich Excellence 26 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
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Bowmore 25 Year Old 1969 Single Malt Whisky
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