The Ardbeg Distillery is getting ready to test a drink that’s literally out of this world – the first whiskey to have ever been matured in outer space. After spending three years on the International Space Station, the vial of single malt is finally returning to Earth. It is expected to land on solid ground in Kazakhstan on September 12, before making its way to Houston.
The project is part of an experiment to study the impact of gravity on how alcohol matures. The whisky was launched into outer space in an unmanned cargo spacecraft in October 2011, along with particles of charred oak. The vial containing the alcoholic drink was specially designed for the mission, and has been orbiting the earth 15 times a day for 1,045 days, on the ISS.
When the vial returns, the alcohol won’t be consumed right away. It has to be tested by scientists first, and compared with regular whisky from another bottle that was corked around the same time. They plan to examine the interaction of the Ardbeg-crafted molecules with charred oak, to measure the differences between earth-whiskey and space-whiskey.
“This is one small step for man but one giant leap for whisky,” said Ardbeg director Dr. Bill Lumsden. “The team hopes to uncover how flavors develop in different gravitational conditions – findings which could revolutionise the whisky-making process.”
“Ardbeg is known for taking risks and its development of some of the most coveted whiskies in the world, so it is fitting that it is the first distillery ever in space,” he added. “We are now close to the end, close to finding answers to something previously unknown which is truly exciting.”
“We hope to shine new light on the effect of gravity on the maturation process, but who knows where it will lead us? It could be to infinity and beyond.”
Source: Irish Examiner