CANINE CROP CIRCLE APPEARS IN CHESHIRE FIELD AS ORBITING ARDBEG WHISKY CELEBRATES SPIRIT IN SPACE
•A crop circle with a diameter of 200 ft (over 60 metres) has been discovered in a field near The Jodrell Bank Observatory in Lower Withington, Cheshire •The crop circle includes the image of Shortie the Jack Russell – beloved mascot of the Ardbeg Distillery •Ardbeg Single Malt Whisky made history in October 2011 when it became the first ever distillery to send new-make spirit to Space •The Ardbeg spirit is set to return to Earth in the coming months
Ardbeg distillery mascot Shortie, a Jack Russell, has been honoured with his very own crop circle as a message of thanks to the astronauts currently working on a unique science project to discover the effects of gravity on whisky maturation.
The unusual portrait was designed by crop circle expert John Lundberg who along with a team of 8 circle makers spent over ten hours creating the striking installation. The crop circle measures 200ft (over 60 metres) and stands in view of the famous Jodrell Bank Observatory’s Lovell Telescope, the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world.
The crop circle, which can be found in a field in Cheshire, was created to celebrate the much anticipated return to Earth of the Ardbeg spirit sample. The team aboard the International Space Station took delivery of the Ardbeg new-make spirit sample in October 2011 in order to conduct a series of experiments into zero-gravity maturation – and the Ardbeg experiment is set to return to Earth in the coming months.
During the spirit’s tenure on the International Space Station there has been a visit by the Winter Olympics torch, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s infamous rendition of Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ and the world’s first robotic astronaut’s Earth-bound plea for his human companion to come and join him in space.
Ardbeg Single Malt spirit molecules, along with particles of charred oak, have been in orbit on the International Space Station as part of an experiment to see how the Single Malt spirit and oak mature together at zero gravity for the last three years. Alongside parallel tests conducted in Warehouse 3 of the Islay-based distillery, Space Research Company NanoRacks LLC hopes to discover the differences in maturation processes between the Earth-based and micro-gravity samples. The results of the experiment are expected to prove ground-breaking in a number of industries, not just whisky distilling. This is the first time that anyone has studied the effects of zero-gravity on maturation.
Mickey Heads, Ardbeg Distillery Manager, says, “We wanted to know what effect gravity can have on the maturation process, so three years ago we sent up vials of Ardbeg’s new-make spirit to the International Space Station. The wait is nearly over with the experiment set to return to Earth in the coming months. But before the capsule leaves the Space Station we wanted to say thanks to the astronauts by sending them a rather special message from us here on Earth.”