Published on Friday, 05 September 2014 00:00
Literally a drink that is out of this world, a vial of whiskey which has spent three years maturing on the International Space Station (ISS) is ready to come home to one hell of a drunken homecoming. And the lucky fellas at the Ardbeg Distillery who came up with the idea are the first ones who get to sample this galactic liquor.
The Ardbeg whiskey was blasted off into space in an unmanned cargo spacecraft in October 2011 along with charred bits of oak as part of an awesome experiment to study the impact of gravity on how alcohol matures. The vial containing the single malt was designed specifically for the mission, and it has been orbiting the Earth's atmosphere 15 times a day for 1,045 days at 17,226mph, on the ISS.
The vial is expected to land on solid ground in Kazakhstan on 12 September this year, where it will then be delivered to Houston. The alcohol won't be consumed right away as eager as everyone is. It first has to be tested by scientists and compared with regular whiskey 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.
Lumsden looking all scientific
Ardbeg’s director of distilling and whiskey creation Dr Bill Lumsden proudly said, “Ardbeg is known for taking risks in 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. We are now close to the end, close to finding answers to something previously unknown which is truly exciting.”
“This is one small step for man but one giant leap for whisky, and the team hope to uncover how flavors develop in different gravitational conditions – findings which could revolutionize the whiskey-making process,” he explained. “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.”