Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Scotch From Space

Since its inception in the mid-Twentieth Century, the Space Program has brought us innumerable scientific advances and helped us to gain a better understanding of our place in the Universe. And still, after more than half a century of space-travel, one important question remains unanswered -- namely, what effect does the micro-gravity of outer-space have on the alcohol fermentation process? Well fortunately, we shall soon have an answer.

In 2011, the space research company NanoRacks LLC teamed up with Ardbeg Distillery to launch vials of Scotch whiskey into space. Now, after three years orbiting the Earth on the International Space Station, the whiskey is due to return to Earth, landing in Kazakhstan on Friday, September 12, 2014. From there, as explained on the Ardbeg website:
Waiting on the ground will be assorted boffins ready to rush the experiment to a scientific laboratory in Houston. Among their number will be our very own whisky creator, the eminent Dr. Bill Lumsden. It will be the team’s task to proceed to unlock the mysteries of maturation, through the study of the interaction between Ardbeg-crafted molecules and charred oak, both in micro-gravity (in orbit) and normal gravity (in Ardbeg’s Warehouse 3).
In other words, they'll conduct a highly scientific study of just how the space-whiskey compares to an identical batch, aged those same three years in Scotland. The results will be written up in a white paper, "at a later date after the exhaustive studies." So it will be a while still before we begin to unlock the secrets of off-world alcohol manufacturing. Still, it's exciting to think that a humble three-year aged, single malt Scotch whiskey is taking that first small step.

And if you've found yourself wondering why, in the new Star Trek movies, Scottie's engine room looks so much like a distillery -- well, maybe there's actually some history behind that.

See more at the Ardbeg website.

1 comment:

Dave Tackett said...

I knew you would get a Star Trek reference in here. Personally I think that it's another tine travel episode and that someone at NanoRacks LLC will be named James Montgomery Scott (or an anagram thereof).