Booze in space for years? Are you kidding me?
A couple of years ago, Ardbeg Distillery sent vials of its whisky into orbit aboard the International Space Station as part of a science experiment to see how microgravity might alter the flavor profiles of its spirits. According to the company website,
The vials contained a class of compounds known as ‘terpenes.’ Ardbeg was invited by U.S.-based space research company NanoRacks LLC to take part in testing these micro organic compounds in a maturation experiment (the interaction of these compounds with charred oak) between normal gravity on Earth and micro-gravity i.e. space.”
I was quite astonished at how different the samples were. It was a whole new range of samples, some flavors I haven’t encountered before,” said Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s director of distilling.
So what exactly does it taste like?
A very focused flavor profile, with smoked fruits (prunes, raisins, sugared plums and cherries), earthy peat smoke, peppermint, aniseed, cinnamon and smoked bacon or hickory-smoked ham. The aftertaste is pungent, intense and long, with hints of wood, antiseptic lozenges and rubbery smoke, ” Lumsden described.
WOW! The taste is just WOW!
The experiment turns out as a surprise because the original focus of the experiment was to see how the conditions of space might affect the maturation of terpenes. The result was that the biggest difference between Ardbeg’s space whisky and the control batch left to mature normally on Earth had to do with the oak that the whiskies were aged in. It seems that microgravity conditions on the Space Station inhibited oak extraction.
To conclude, this is an important finding for scotch makers, because it reveals a novel discovery. Basically, it means that gravity itself is an essential component to the process of how flavors develop. In an indirect way, the experiment might be said to have revealed the flavor of gravity, at least in regards to how it evolves in a bottle of scotch.
via Discovery Channel