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Ardbeg’s Galileo launch celebrates space experiment

Ardbeg has released Galileo, a limited edition 12 year-old single malt created to celebrate the Scottish distillery’s experiment to mature whisky in space.

Ardbeg's Galileo single malt whisky
Ardbeg’s Galileo is a limited edition run of 12 year-old single malts

Working with US space research company NanoRacks LLC, Ardbeg has been testing the effects of gravity on micro-organic compounds found at its distillery on Islay.

In late 2011 it launched vials of compounds known as ‘terpenes’ into space via rockets from Kazakhstan, which will remain on the International Space Station for at least two years.

Similar vials are also being kept with NanoRacks at its facility in Houston, Texas, and also at Warehouse 3 at Ardbeg Distillery.

Dr Bill Lumsden, director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks at The Glenmorangie Company, said: “The experiment went live in January when the scientists broke the separating wall between the two components; Ardbeg new make spirit straight from our still on Islay and shards of charred oak cut out of some of our barrels from the warehouse. We will not know the results for another year or so but in the meantime we thought we would celebrate the experiment by the introduction of Ardbeg Galileo – our own earthly tribute to the scientific experiment taking place far up in space!”

Ardbeg Galileo is a non-chill filtered blend of various Ardbeg casks laid down in 1999, including first and second fill bourbon casks and ex-Marsala wine casks from Sicily, which impart fruity aromas to the whisky.

Ardbeg describe the nose of Galileo to contain spicy toffeenotes with hints of tropical fruit, while the taste is sweet and creamy with fudge, smoked apricots, ripe banana and spices coming to the fore, leaving a smoky but sweet finish.

It has been bottled at 49% abv and will be available from specialist whisky shops with an RRP of £69.99.

Hamish Torrie for Ardbeg said: “Each year we have brought out a limited edition of Ardbeg as a supplement to our core range – and although Ardbeg Galileo in no way resembles the actual experiment going on in space nevertheless we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate the experiment, and our partnership with NanoRacks in Houston, with a whisky which Bill and the team on Islay laid down way back in 1999 shortly after we bought Ardbeg Distillery.

“There are only a few thousand cases available and as ever with Ardbeg we expect demand to be brisk.”

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