Our obsession with launching things into space, whether it be bacteria, burgers or booze, doesn’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon.
A sample of Scottish whisky from Ardbeg Distillery that was sent to the International Space Station three years ago has returned and reportedly tastes significantly different, according to the BBC.
Ardberg launched a vial of whisky into space in October 2011 — a control sample was left on Earth — to study how the lack of gravity would affect terpenes, or the “building blocks of flavor for many foods and wines as well as whisky spirits,” per the BBC. Japanese distiller Suntory launched its own whiskies into space last month to study whether gravity would be a factor in the mellowing process.
Dr. Bill Lumsden, director of distilling and whisky creation at Ardbeg, described the taste of the space whisky to the BBC as “smoked with fruits such as prunes, raisins, sugared plums and cherries, earthy peat smoke, peppermint, aniseed, cinnamon and smoked bacon or hickory-smoked ham,” with an aftertaste that mirrors cough drops and “rubbery smoke.”
He also noted that the spirit offers fishy, rubbery and meaty smells.
“When I nosed and tasted the space samples, it became clear that much more of Ardbeg’s smoky, phenolic character shone through — to reveal a different set of smoky flavors which I have not encountered here on Earth before,” Lumsden said.