Celebrating Ardbeg’s first experiment in orbit
In the headlong rush of science, in the late autumn of 2011, a rocket ship blasted off this earth at 25,000mph. 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).
Ardbeg have been invited by US based space research
company NanoRacks LLC to take part in an experiment to test
these micro organic compounds in a maturation experiment (the inter-action of these compounds with charred oak) between normal gravity on Earth and micro-gravity, 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.
The 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 us uncover new truths about the change that these molecules undergo in this near zero gravity environment.
The experiment will have applications for a variety of commercial and research products, including, maybe, one day, future generations of Ardbeg. Working in close collaboration with the Ardbeg Distillery team in Scotland, the team will closely monitor the experiment against control samples here on earth: both in Houston, Texas at the NanoRacks' facility and more familiarly, in Warehouse 3 at Ardbeg Distillery on Islay!
It just goes to prove what Ardbeg aficionados have always known: Ardbeg truly is out of this world!
We’ll be posting more on the progress of this pioneering experiment in the months to come. So watch this space….