On a scale of ‘every single day’ to ‘never ever,’ tasting whisky that has been aged in space is most likely on the latter end of that scale. Luckily, Ardbeg, a scotch maker from Islay (an island in the north of Scotland), brought some of this single malt experiment to whisky bar, The Caledonian, for a taste. We tasted everything from full 10 year old Scotch to their Supernova: The Ultimate Islay Single Malt and finally, the space whisky: Perpetuum.
First of all, Ardbeg is a very unique brand of Scotch: It is an award winning single malt with a world wide cult following. When drinking a glass of Ardbeg, one feels as though they should be in the foyer of a Scottish castle, fire roaring, mist rolling over the highlands and Celtic suits of armour standing at attention on either side of a long, ominous looking staircase- The start of an Agatha Christie murder mystery perhaps? You can feel the Celtic roots, the authenticity and the passion in one sip. Although I won’t pretend that it is an entry level scotch, once you do fall in love with Ardbeg, I imagine you will be hooked for life – (I just bought a few bottles in Duty Free).
Now the cool part: In 2011, space research company Nano Racks LLC contacted Ardbeg with a proposal. They wanted to evaluate maturation differences on Earth vs in space and could they use an Ardbeg scotch for this experiment. Of course, Ardbeg jumped at the opportunity to make what seemed like science fiction, a reality.The Scotch orbited the planet on the International Space Station at 17,227 miles per hour, 15 times a day. The world’s first whisky experiment touched down in Kazakhstan in September 2014 before being taken to Houston for exhaustive research, all of which will be published in a white paper at some point in the near future. Until then, a portion of ‘Space Ardbeg’ (aka. Perpetuum) began its world tour…on land. You can track its whereabouts here: http://www.ardbeg.com/ardbeg/ardbeg-space-tracker
Describing words aside, what did this actually taste like? It tasted like a characteristic Ardbeg: is a true Scotch lovers whisky. While there arehints of sweet, it is peetey and rugged; full of robust spice, tobacco and wood. Let me be clear: This is not the whisky that you mix with Coke pre-bar on a Saturday night. This is the whisky you pull out after dinner when you are trying to impress someone who has a full moustache.
It is unclear as to whether this space whisky will be available in the LCBO but keep an eye on the ‘Space Tracker’ just in case. Even if you aren’t a Scotch drinker, the novelty value alone will be worth the price of the bottle. Regardless, definitely give Ardbeg a ‘wee nose,’ as the Scottish would say. The island of Islay has some very distinctive Scotch qualities that are definitely worth exploring.
Ardbeg 10 Years Old Islay Scottish Whisky is available at the LCBO for $99.95.
Perpetuum is available in Vintages at the LCBO for $186.95