Ardbeg space whisky experiment

Wines & Spirits


Always a pioneer, Ardbeg never ceases to explore the outer limits of whisky maturation. The Islay distiller’s most recent experiment saw a vial of Ardbeg orbit the Earth in micro-gravity.

On September 12, 2014, a vial of Ardbeg returned to the earth’s atmosphere after 1,045 days in space in micro-gravity at speeds topping  27,700 kph (17,227 miles per hour). The experiment was directed by Ardbeg Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation Bill Lumsden, in partnership with NanoRacks LLC. The aim is to test the effects of gravity on the whisky maturation process.

While a control vial remained on Earth in Ardbeg’s Warehouse 3, another was sent to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian cargo spacecraft. The impact of the journey into space on maturation of the orbited vial could radically alter the whisky maturation process. Ardbeg was a natural partner for this experiment, notes Bill Lumsden: “Ardbeg is known for taking risks in its development of some of the most coveted whiskies in the world.”

To celebrate the return of the space experiment, on the day the shuttle landed Ardbeg released an exceptional edition, Supernova 2014. It has already been described as truly extraordinary, with aromas of smoked pears and spicy mint. The distiller also created Islay Invaders, an Ardbeg branded version of Space Invaders, available on its website. To play the game click here.