Ardbeg in Space

When we first conceived of the idea of sending Ardbeg into space it seemed like science fiction. Now we’re proud to say it’s science fact. 

The world’s first whisky experiment in space touched down safe and sound in Kazakhstan, on 12th September 2014. The answers to the mysteries of maturation and the universe are now within our reach…


To re-cap, we launched Ardbeg’s first whisky experiment into space in 2011 – in the shape of vials of Ardbeg-crafted molecules – where it orbited the planet on the International Space Station at 17,227 miles per hour, 15 times a day. 

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 came safely back down to Earth in Kazakhstan, Central Asia on 12th September 2014 and a precious vial from the actual space experiment will soon be on display at the Distillery.

Back in September 2014, waiting on the ground were assorted boffins who rushed the experiment to a scientific laboratory in Houston. Among their number was our very own whisky creator, the eminent Dr. Bill Lumsden. It is the team’s task to unlock the mysteries of maturation, through the study of the interaction between Ardbeg-crafted molecules and charred oak, both in micro-gravity (in orbit) and normal gravity (in Ardbeg’s Warehouse 3).

After months of staring down a microscope and painstakingly analysing the experiment, September 2015 saw Dr Bill reveal the maturation secrets of the universe in a White Paper. Read his findings for yourself.

Download White Paper