Diabetic’s Urine, Key to a Fine Single-Malt Whisky?

What goes in a good whisky? Grain. Water. The urine of diabetics. Wait a minute ... Yes, the urine part is true for at least one whiskey, according to Wired UK, which reports on a very odd distillation project a designer and researcher into biomedical technologies named James Gilpin is working on. The idea: Use the sugar-rich urine of elderly diabetics to make some fancy single malt.

The source material is acquired from elderly volunteers, including Gilpin's own grandmother. The urine is purified in the same way as mains water is purified, with the sugar molecules removed and added to the mash stock to accelerate the whisky's fermentation process. Traditionally, that sugar would be made from the starches in the mash.

Gilpin, who Wired UK notes is diabetic himself, said the whisky is more of an art project to test the idea of "'utilizing our water purification systems in order to harvest the biological resources that our elderly already process in abundance'" than something for production, so don't expect to find any single-malt urine whisky on the shelves at BevMo.

According to Wired UK, Gilpin will be pouring tastes at 100% Materials, a design show in London, this month, though I couldn't find him on the exhibitor list on the event's website. Exhibiting under a different name? Can this possibly be for real?


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