Suntory is sending their whiskey into space in a freak experiment to discover if whisky ages better in a low atmosphere environment.
The Japanese brewing and distilling company is blasting six of its best whiskies into the atmosphere to the International Space Station to find out whether the microgravity of space helps the whiskey’s ageing process. This whole experiment will be kicking off on the 16th August 2015.
Among the six premium whiskies is Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask which was actually named the best whiskey in the world in the 2015 Whiskey Bible. It won over the likes of William Larue Weller 2013 and Sazerac Rye 18yo 2013. Master of Malt is currently selling bottles of Yamazaki Single Malt for around £101.00.
The aim of the endeavour is to study the “development of mellowness in alcoholic beverage through the use of a microgravity environment”. The research will be conducted in Kibo, the Japanese Experiment Module on the ISS, with the cooperation of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Suntory states that it hopes the experiments will help discover a scientific explanation for the “mechanism that makes alcohol mellow”. Research that the company has already conducted with professors from various Japanese universities has led them to believe that mellowness most likely develops “by promoted formation of the high-dimensional molecular structure in the alcoholic beverage in environments where liquid convection is suppressed”. The hope is that by taking the whiskies into a microgravity environment, the researchers will be able to verify the effect a convection-free state has on the mellowing of the liquids.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the whiskies will be carried into space and back in glass flasks. Some will stay for just a year, some for longer. Upon their return they will be studied in labs, where whisky blenders will taste them and compare them to whiskies that have been aged on Earth. Whisky aficionados will be sad to hear that they will not be put on sale for the general public to taste.
You can find out more directly from Ballentine’s dedicated Medium blog. You can find information on the construction of the glass itself as well as details on the space misssion launch. There are a few awesome videos below for you to take a look at too.