Speyside ‘renamed’ in honour of space experiment
The Glenlivet is celebrating the return of its barley seeds from space with a new distillery sign ‘renaming’ the whisky region of Speyside to ‘Space’-side.
In an experiment conducted in collaboration with scientists at the University of Guelph, Canada, barley seeds were sent into space in May 2021 on a Space X rocket.
The seeds, which were donated by Chivas Brothers, were sent to the International Space Station to test whether they could withstand the effects of its extreme conditions, including zero gravity, extreme temperatures and cosmic radiation.
Led by School of Environmental Sciences professor and controlled environment systems research facility director, Dr Mike Dixon, the experiment was part of the university’s ongoing research into growing crops in space.
The goal of the trial is to ensure access to fresh produce for astronauts on long-term missions, as well as providing clean water captured from the transpiration process, providing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.
The results are now being analysed against the conditions the seeds were exposed to, which will help determine which deep space conditions they could survive.
Dixon commented: “Historically when humans have discovered new land, they have produced alcohol, including whisky. As a whisky enthusiast, I want to keep this tradition going as we continue to explore the possibility of life on other planets.
“We look forward to working with The Glenlivet and following the journey of the barley seeds back on Earth.”
Following their return to The Glenlivet Distillery, the seeds will be planted, malted and distilled into an ‘astronomical expression’ of one of the brand’s single malts as The Glenlivet continues its efforts to ‘break conventions’ within whisky.
Jayne Murphy, marketing director for The Glenlivet said: “We are always looking for new ways to innovate our single malt production and by partnering with the University of Guelph on their trailblazing space experiment, we had the opportunity to do exactly that.
“We are excited to see how the seeds will perform as they are planted, harvested, malted and distilled into one of our iconic single malts. We hope it will produce a new, extraterrestrial expression with a wonderful taste.”
In January, Nemiroff released a limited edition Moon Edition which was made to celebrate Ukrainian Satellite Sich-2-30’s launch into orbit, after it set off on the Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket.
Last year, Nemiroff was named an official partner of robotics technology firm Spacebit’s 2022 lunar mission.