Ardbeg single malt whisky, recently rated the “Best Single Malt Scotch – 10 Years and Under” by The Whisky Bible, celebrated its ongoing experiment in space this past Saturday with more than 400 South Floridians during the Official Grand Opening night of Stache, a 1920’s themed speakeasy located at 109 SW 2nd Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

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The event featured a 30’X9′ life size rocket, aka the Ardbeg Rocket, which included special lighting and sound components to provide a dramatic simulated launch experience. Guests also enjoyed complimentary Ardbeg single malt whisky tastings featuring 10 Year Old, Corryvreckan, Uiegdail, and Galileo and delectable custom cocktails crafted by Stache’s renowned mixologist John Lermayer including the Islay Old Fashion and Smokey Sherrey Sour. The Islay Old Fashion featured Ardbeg Uigeadail stirred with Vermont maple syrup, angostura bitters, and was finished with espresso bean and orange zest. The Smokey Sherry Sour included Ardbeg 10yr, Olorosso sherry, fresh lemon & egg white, and is finished with Dales bitters.

In addition to the simulated rocket, Stache’s back lot housed a space-like light installation by FATVillage artist Peter Symons entitled Into the Woods. The piece – a unique example of the integration of technology with experiential art – consists of four live-feed cameras hooked up to four computers running a program the artist wrote that interprets the data. The data transforms the light into abstracted color-fields whereby the movements of the participants affect the imagery that is projected by the projectors onto and through sculptural wooden screens. The piece was recently featured at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.

Ardbeg’s space journey is the most audacious adventure ever undertaken by Ardbeg Distillery (or any other distillery for that matter). The real Ardbeg Rocket is scheduled to return to earth in 2014. In the meantime, the Ardbeg Rocket Tour will take its simulated rocket across the US and throughout 22-states in 28-week.

Ardbeg was invited by US based space research company NanoRacks LLC to take part in an experiment to test these micro organic compounds in a maturation experiment (the inter-action of these compounds with charred oak) between normal gravity on Earth and micro-gravity, far up in space on the International Space Station. The vials contain a class of compounds known as “terpenes” – a set of chemicals which are very widespread in nature and often very aromatic and flavour-active – as well as other molecules. It is the interaction of these molecules with oak wood that forms the basis of this maturation experiment.

This is believed to be the first time anyone has ever studied terpenes and other molecules in near zero-gravity. The experiment could explain the workings of these large, complex molecules as they will remain on the International Space Station for at least two years and help us uncover new truths about the change that these molecules undergo in this near zero gravity environment. The experiment will have applications for a variety of commercial and research products, including, maybe, future generations of Ardbeg. Working in close collaboration with the Ardbeg Distillery team in Scotland, the team will closely monitor the experiment against control samples here on earth: both in Houston, Texas at the NanoRacks’ facility and more familiarly, in Warehouse 3 at Ardbeg Distillery on Islay. It just goes to prove what Ardbeg aficionados have always known: Ardbeg truly is out of this world.

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