On August 16th Japan’s Suntory whisky distillery is set to follow in the footsteps of Ardbeg experimenting with zero gravity maturation experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS). In what can only be an exercise in astronaut temptation the distillery is sending samples of both a new make spirit and the older 21 year old expression into orbit, the first samples will return in a year, the rest two years later.
Japanese Whisky Aboard The ISS
Suntory’s study of the “development of mellowness in alcoholic beverage through the use of a microgravity environment” is not merely an interesting PR piece, although I’m certain that came into play, but may in fact prove quite educational. The distillery has already been experimenting on the effects of microgravity, during parabolic flight, on the formation of high-dimensional molecular structure with Professor Shigenao Maruyama & Professor Mitsuhiro Shibayama of the Institute of Fluid Science at Tohoku University and Professor Mitsuhiro Shibayama of the Institute for Solid State Physics at the University of Tokyo respectively.
The results of these experiments will likely take a considerable amount of time to be made public but we’ll update you when we know more.
Other Whisky Experiments In Space
Back in October 2011 a single vial of unmatured Ardbeg whisky, a Scotch malt distilled on Islay, was sent into orbit on what Mickey Heads of Ardbeg called a “voyage of discovery”. In truth the experiment hoped to “reveal new ways and new compounds of creating extra special flavours” by examining the way that terpenes, unsaturated hydrocarbons found in charred oak and other plant matter broke down in the microgravity of Space.
Spending almost 3 years in Earth orbit the Ardbeg sample landed in Kazakhstan, Central Asia on 12th September 2014 and currently undergoing analaysis the whitepaper is anticipated later this year.