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Suntory Shoots Whisky Into Space

Japanese distiller takes one small sip for man, one giant sip for mankind.

When you look at the sky tonight, bask in the wonder of all that space holds: stars, planets and, most recently, flasks of premium whisky.

Suntory, Japan’s oldest distillery and the company behind the “world’s best whisky” according to Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, has sent five samples of variously aged whisky to the International Space Station (ISS) to see what effects space will have on them.

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Photo credit: Suntory

More specifically, scientists are interested in the mechanics of mellowing – the mystical process that smooths spirits over time – and whether a microgravity environment with minimal temperature changes will play a role in creating a softer flavour.

Hence in August, the samples – which range from freshly distilled to aged over 20 years – were divided into two groups and sent to the Japanese Experiment Module aboard the ISS. One group will be returned after 13 months, while the other will be kept there for at least two years. These will be compared against the control groups left on Earth.

Unfortunately, those samples won’t be for sale. But, if you want to try space-aged whisky, samples sent by Ardbeg in 2011 have recently returned – with conclusive results that show how space significantly changes the flavours of whisky – and will be auctioned off at the end of the year. If Suntory’s experiment is also successful, we could be looking at a future where premiums are attached to spirits that have gone the extra (extra, extra) mile.


SPACE BAR

A party is brewing in the galaxy

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01 MOON SHINE
To commemorate Earth Day and its commitment to sustainable business practices, Onyx Spirits Company launched its signature bottle into space in April, together with a rocks glass and a silver platter.

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02 UNIVERSAL BARTENDER
Of the 1,000 copies of The Beaufort Bar’s pop-up cocktail menu produced, one was sent to space as a symbol of the journey of the menu’s creation.

 

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