News

Space-Aged whisky

Suntory whisky embarks on space mission
By Rupert Wheeler
On Sunday 16 August 2015, Japanese whisky giant Beam Suntory, in association with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, launched six samples of their award winning whisky into space to mature in the zero gravity environment of the International Space Station's Japanese module (nicknamed 'Kibo').

The producers hope to improve upon techniques passed down since the first Suntory distillery opened in 1923, by gaining a better scientific understanding of the mechanism behind the ageing process of spirits. Japanese whisky is known for being far less harsh, subtler and more 'mellow' than its western counterparts, making it extremely popular with younger and less experienced consumers.

The experiment will study the development of 'mellowness' in alcoholic beverages through the use of a microgravity environment. Experts hypothesise that, "the formation of complex molecular structures consisting of water, ethanol, and other ingredients in alcoholic beverages, contribute to the development of mellowness." This builds on existing collaborative research by professors at Tohoku University, The University of Tokyo and the Suntory Institute of Life Sciences.

The six samples - consisting of 21 Years Old single malt and a recently distilled whisky - will be allowed to age for periods ranging from one to three years in zero gravity.

Once the samples return to earth, the first of which will be in 2016, expert blenders at Suntory's distilleries will compare how the taste of the space aged whisky compares to that of normally aged whisky.

Content of Experiment One set of samples consisting of various alcoholic beverages will be stored in a convection free state in Japanese Experiment Module 'Kibo' on the International Space Station and another set of the identical samples will be stored in Japan for the same period of time. The following three methods will be then used to analyse and compare the two sets of samples: 1. Measurement of substance diffusion coefficient with the use of a phase shifting interferometer in cooperation with the Institute of Fluid Science, Tohoku University.

2. Detection of high-dimensional structure by small angle X-ray scattering using SPring-8, in cooperation with the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute and the Institute for Solid State Physics, the University of Tokyo.

3. Measurement of substance diffusion with the use of the NMR method 3 in co-operation with Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences.



Bladnoch Distillery to reopen



Bladnoch Distillery in South West Scotland is to reopen and restart distilling after its purchase on 24 July by an Australian entrepreneur.

Substantial new investment is planned leading to the return of distilling in Galloway after six years during which time the distillery has not been in production.

The new company, Bladnoch Distillery Limited, is headed by Australian businessman David Prior. He is supported by non-executive director Gavin Hewitt, former chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.

The existing eight warehouse, administrative and visitor centre staff will be retained and new jobs will be created giving a boost to local employment.

Substantial investment needs to be made in the production facilities, meeting the industry's highest environmental standards, before the spirit flows again from the stills.

David Prior said on completion of the purchase of the distillery, "I am delighted to have been able to purchase a Scotch whisky distillery of such renown as Bladnoch. Scotch whisky is the world's foremost spirit drink and I am proud to be part of the Scotch whisky industry." Gavin Hewitt added, "It is wonderful to see one of Scotland's oldest distilleries revived. I'm excited to be on the team which will breathe new life into Bladnoch and provide a stimulus for the local economy." The new owner plans to stay true to the distillery's heritage in restoring it to its former glory. The purchase continues the recent resurgence of distilling in southern Scotland which will see the number of Lowland working malt distilleries increase from two distilleries ten years ago to eight following the reopening of Bladnoch.



Royal guest of honour at The Lakes Distillery



Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, has officially opened officially opened The Lake District's newest visitor attraction and England's premier whisky distillery, The Lakes Distillery.

Founder and managing director of The Lakes Distillery, Paul Currie, welcomed her Royal Highness Princess Anne to the distillery's picturesque setting overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake this week (22 July) before inviting her to tour the £7m development.

Her Royal Highness visited the stillroom where The Lakes vodka, The Lakes gin and The Lakes single malt is produced on-site, and the bistro at the Lakes Distillery before unveiling a plaque in the distillery courtyard which marks its official opening.

Following the tour, Paul and chairman of the board, Nigel Mills presented Her Royal Highness with a sherry cask of The Lakes malt to commemorate her visit to The Lakes Distillery.

Paul said, "It was an incredible honour to have Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal officially open The Lakes Distillery and all of us will remember it for years to come. As the only distillery in Cumbria, we are very proud of our team and our facilities which are already producing award winning spirits. It was a pleasure to be able to present the fruit of our hard work to such a prestigious guest.

"Her Royal Highness' visit marks the start of our first summer season open to the public. We expect to attract 100,000 guests of all ages to the distillery each year, who will be able to follow the same tour as Her Royal Highness, and we hope they enjoy their visit just as much." The Lakes Distillery opened to the public in December 2014 and produces the only true Cumbrian whisky, gin and vodka. The Lakes Distillery, complete with visitor centre, shop and bistro, is situated just six miles from Keswick.

For more information, please visit For more information, please visit www.lakesdistillery.com



A Vintage Celebration for A D Rattray



The team at A D Rattray independent bottlers were surprised recently when they were each presented with a bottle of 50 Years Old single cask whisky. The Girvan Grain 1964 Cask No 0002 is the first to be bottled as part of their Vintage Cask Collection, a new range which the company have recently added to their award-winning portfolio. Mr Tim Morrison, owner of A D Rattray and the A D Rattray Whisky Experience & Whisky Shop, said he was delighted to be able to thank everyone for their hard work over the years in this special way.

Known for quality single cask bottlings, A D Rattray pride themselves on the careful selection and monitoring of their casks, only bottling when they reach their prime.

Occasionally an older cask of exceptional quality will be rewarded with beautiful packaging and inclusion in the new range. 255 bottles of the Girvan Grain 1964 have been produced at cask strength (46.8%) appealing to collectors and whisky enthusiasts.

Mr Morrison said, "It is particularly fitting that this 50 Years Old is the first cask in our new Vintage cask collection range as it is the oldest whisky we have bottled to date and is from the nearest distillery to our headquarters.

It all seems like a lifetime ago and to see a bottle of whisky which was distilled back then in the hands of my son, Andrew, the next generation, makes me very proud."