Japanese distillery Suntory is set to blast some of its world-renowned beverages into space to create ‘space-aged’ whiskey.
The company will be sending samples of whiskey to the International Space Station (ISS) in order to study the ‘development of mellowness in alcoholic beverage through the use of a microgravity environment’.
The collaboration between Suntory’s Global Innovation Centre and Japanese space agency JAXA will see the boozy payload launched into space on 16 August.
Samples will be sent to the Japanese ‘Kibo’ module of the space station and will be studied in two batches. The first batch will be aged for one year, while the second batch will be aged for two or more years, with the exact duration yet to be decided.
An identical set of samples will be stored in Japan over the same time period to act as a control for the experiment.
The space experiments ‘will be conducted to verify the effect of the convection-free state created by a microgravity environment to the mellowing of alcoholic beverage’.
While taste testing isn’t explicitly mentioned, the samples will be analysed using high-tech testing techniques including X-rays to test the high-dimensional structure of the liquid.
This isn’t the first time that whiskey has been sent into orbit - in 2011, samples of malt whiskey were taken to the ISS from Scotland’s Ardbeg Distillery to study the effect of microgravity on the flavour. They were scheduled to return to Earth in September 2014, though the results of the study have yet to be published.
(Image credit: Suntory)