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One giant leap for dram-kind

LOVERS of the national drink will admit that a few drams can leave them with a light-headed feeling.

But now an experiment to find out if a single malt will suffer any hangover from being in space is due to end.

The Ardbeg Distillery on Islay blasted compounds of an unmatured whisky, along with particles of charred oak, to the International Space Station on a cargo rocket in late 2011 so scientists could try to find out if they interact in the weightlessness of space.

The vial has been shaken and stirred, after orbiting Earth at 17,227mph, 15 times a day for 1,045 days. The distillery has retained an identical bottle to compare them after the single malt touches down at Kazakhstan on September 12. The two samples will be transferred to a lab in Houston, Texas, for the final analysis.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg's director of distilling and whisky creation, said: "This is one small step for man but one giant leap for whisky, and the team hope to uncover how flavours develop in different gravitational conditions, findings which could revolutionise the whisky-making process."

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