The potential for whisky snobbery just increased astronomically. Japanese distillery Suntory recently announced that it will be sending its world-renowned whiskies to outer space to study the effect that zero gravity has on aging.
Bored with only having the best whisky in the world, the Tokyo-based distillery is sending six samples of whisky and other alcoholic beverages to the International Space Station to test how they will age in zero gravity. From there, experiments on the “development of mellowness” will be conducted over a period of about a year. The samples will be transported to outer space in a glass flasks, which will include a 21-year-old single malt, and a whisky that has just been distilled.
In its press release, Suntory explains: “With the exception of some items like beer, alcoholic beverages are widely known to develop a mellow flavor when aged for a long time.” While their researchers are still unsure of why the mellowness occurs, they’ve hypothesized that it’s caused by “the formation of high-dimensional molecular structure consisting of water, ethanol, and other ingredients in alcoholic beverages,” which occurs in environments where the liquid convection is suppressed. If that’s the case, a microgravity environment would allow the whisky to age without lessening the flavor.
To our incredible disappointment, the space-aged whiskey will not be available for purchase upon its return home. The good news? That gives you time to brush up on your Earth-bound whiskeys before that future day when cosmic spirits finally hit the market.